Professor Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State for Tertiary Education has stated that under the new educational reforms, the French Language is to be introduced in upper primary.
He said that recognising Ghana’s missed opportunities in the past, the Government decided that French would soon be compulsory at upper primary and junior high school (JHS).
He noted that at the JHS level, just about seven per cent of schools offered French, and schools that scored the highest were also areas closer to Ghana’s Francophone neighbours, Togo and Burkina Faso.
He said at the senior high school (SHS) level, about 68 per cent of schools offered French, and for those schools where French was taught, qualified teachers teaching also taught other subjects.
He pointed out that with these trends, it was not surprising that the enrollment of students in French Departments within public universities in Ghana was rather low, and much worse in private universities, where lecturers were largely redundant.
Prof Yankah made these remarks in his address during the fifth France Ghana Higher Education and Research Conference in Accra.
The event was organised by the French Embassy in Ghana, in collaboration with Institut Francais Ghana and Campus France Ghana.
It is aimed at developing existing and new collaborations between the French and Ghanaian research centres; develop the joint degree and joint supervision at PhD level; and as well enhance students and researcher’s mobility.
Prof Yankah said the consolidation of the friendship between Ghana and France, however, could not have come at a better moment than this, when the Government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, himself proficient in French, had committed to deepening the learning of French in Ghana.
On higher education, the Minister said partnerships should help Africa and Ghana, to build capacities in programmes, where the human resource base was thin, especially in the sciences.
He said in a situation, where African Universities launched a major drive towards increasing the percentage of doctoral degree holders, partnerships with France and other Euro-American Universities, present a golden opportunity.
He said however, Ghanaian universities should work harder to advertise themselves in France, and Euro-American in general, for Ghana had a huge potential in Higher Education which was exploited superficially.
Madam Anne Sophie Avè, the French Ambassador to Ghana, said in Ghana, France provided support to university cooperation through the French Embassy and its Cultural Action and Cooperation Department.
She said currently they could summarise their actions in the field of higher education around three main points, including; accompanying Ghanaian universities in the development of their collaborations with French higher education and research institutions and facilitate faculty and researcher’s mobility.
Madam Avè said they provided assistance to students wishing to further their studies in France, through their campus France offices in Legon and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
She said they trained Ghanaian students in France offering a gateway to other European countries as France was committed to building the European Union that achieved a lot in higher education and research.