Acquire more professional training - Kufuor
President John Agyekum Kufuor has asked French teachers within the public system to seize available opportunities to undergo further professional training to acquire skills needed for classroom work.
"It is, after all, important to upgrade and update your knowledge of modern methods of, and approaches to, the teaching and learning of French," he told members of the Ghana Association of French Teachers (GAFT) at the launch of their 50th anniversary celebration in Accra.
President Kufuor, however, reminded the teachers that it was unethical for them to leave the profession when they had not sufficiently given back what was expected of them.
"If you quit after your sponsored higher education, the projections and the entire policy direction of the service are seriously disturbed, if not thrown out of gear," he said.
The anniversary launched on Tuesday is on the theme: "Promoting French in an English-Speaking Environment."
In a speech read for President Kufuor by Professor Y. S. Boafo, Chairman Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), he said owing to the importance Ghana attached to the French language, it had been added to the list of Group One subjects, namely; English, mathematics and science which took 60 per cent quota allocation for study-leave with pay at both graduate and post-graduate levels of tertiary education.
He said in the last few years so much had happened in the field of French teaching and learning with laudable policies that existed before 2000 having been embraced and modified by the government.
President Kufuor said French language also featured prominently in the new education reforms that took effect from September last year in which every pupil was expected to have a primary-tongued proficiency in French by the end of primary education and the study of the language at second cycle level being made compulsory.
He called on everybody to help realise the dream of producing the right cream of dedicated and highly qualified French teachers for the schools to give meaning to the new education reforms.
According to President Kufuor, young students of French language had been targeted in a special Government of Ghana project through the GETFund to spend part of their long vacation in France.
The project, which aimed at giving as many Ghanaian students opportunity to visit France, is based on the fact that constant contacts with French-speaking peoples would help strengthen the roots of French in Ghana and foster cordial relations with them.
Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, in a speech read for her by Nana Yaa Osei-Obrempong, Director in-charge of Tertiary Education and Bilateral Relations, charged all educators in French to take stock of the strengths and shortfalls over the past 50 years and come out with strategies that would help to enhance the teaching and promotion of the Language.
Mr Pierre Jacquemot, Ambassador of France, said despite the considerable support provided by France in the teaching of the language, there was profound need for further collective effort in developing French in Ghana.
"This 50th anniversary is therefore an opportunity for the French Government to encourage the Ghana Association of French Teachers to continue on the same path on its mission for the development of French Language in the country for a successful regional integration of Ghana.”
Mr Evans Kokroko, President of GAFT, asked that untrained French teachers should be given basic training in child psychology and methods of teaching French as a foreign language.