South Sudan will introduce the French language into its academic curriculum this year, according to the Minister of General Education.
Deng Deng Hoc made the announcement yesterday at an event to mark the ‘International Week of the Francophonie’ – celebrated every year on March 20th.
The Day seeks to reflect on the vitality of the French language, which is constantly being enriched by new words to take into account changes in today’s world.
Deng Hoc said the current number of South Sudanese speaking French is low but promises that in 10 years, there will be a drastic increase of French speakers in the country.
He said the Ministry has already begun training teachers who will be tasked with offering classes from Primary 5 to Senior 4.
“We are going to be quite a lot of people, maybe more than 1 million people will be speaking French in this country. We have already written the French language textbooks and teacher guides,” Deng Hoc revealed.
Mr. Hoc said the subject would require “approximately 6,000 teachers” across the country -most of them will be recruited from Congo.
“We have signed a cooperation agreement with our neighbor the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we are optimistic and hopeful that we will be recruiting teachers from DRC,” he added.
There are 29 French-speaking African countries -mostly in the west, central and parts of southern Africa.
According to the UN, there are approximately 434 million people throughout the world who speak French.
However, the country with the highest French speaking population is not France. Instead, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tops the list with more than 77 million people. France ranks second, with approximately 67 million people. Madagascar and Cameroon, with 24 million and 23 million people, respectively, rank fourth and fifth.
This is the first time South Sudan is introducing the French language in its national curriculum since independence.
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