V-C Commends French Embassy, Alliance Francaise On Partnership

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, has commended the French Embassy in Nigeria for its abiding interest in the University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. He assured a delegation that visited the University of the Management’s resolve to ensure that the French Language was taught the right way in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the Faculty of Humanities.
Speaking when he received the Head of Nigeria/French Language Project at the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Fanny Dureysseix, and outgoing Director of Alliance Francaise in Port Harcourt, Mrs. Helene Geneau-Okutue, on a courtesy call on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Professor Lale assured the delegation that the University had capacity and requisite manpower to drive quality teaching of French to students.
 Professor Lale stressed the need for the Embassy and University to develop new programmes that would create more interest in learning the French Language. “It is disheartening that our policy did not include adopting the French language as a lingua franca at the early education of our children, just like the English Language. It has become obvious today that our children need to study foreign languages to enable them to secure more job opportunities in the West African sub-region. We cannot over-emphasis the importance of French Language in education and business transactions. There is a need to make the language more attractive, including increasing the number of professional teachers and general interest in the language for students,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor regretted that students cannot be expected to do well at the university level, if they were not introduced to the foreign languages at the primary and secondary school levels of education, when they would be more receptive to picking up such foreign languages.
Responding, Dr. Dureysseix, who also doubles as the Educational Attaché at the French Embassy in Nigeria, reiterated the resolve of the French Government to partner universities in Nigeria to adopt better tools to teach modern French to students.
 “We will support the Management of the University of Port Harcourt to ensure improved level of teaching French through the provision of training platforms for the academic staff. Alliance Francaise domiciled in the Rivers State also provides modern teaching facilities and methodology for the benefit of academic staff and persons who need to be retrained for efficient service delivery. The idea is to make teaching of the French Language a more attractive venture to students in the University of Port Harcourt,” the diplomat said. She stressed a desire to work with the authorities to tackle the apparent decline in the number of students that apply to study the French Language as a degree programme.
Corroborating Dr. Dureysseix’s view, outgoing Director of Alliance Francaise in Port Harcourt, Mrs. Geneau-Okutue, reiterated her organisation’s willingness to implement the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed between both parties to drive the process. She assured the University that her successor would sustain the excellent institutional relationship with the University as she ends her tenure this summer.
In their separate speeches, representative of the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Kingsley Owete, acting Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Dr. Eugenia Mbanefo and a Lecturer in the Department, Professor Iheanacho Akakuru, commended the growing partnership between the University, French Embassy and Alliance Francaise, assuring them of the willingness of the Management to implement the terms of the soon-to-be signed MoU.

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