Friday, January 13, 2017

The relevance of Bilingualism to responsible citizenship?

The 12th edition of the National Week of Bilingualism and the 15th edition of the National Day of Bilingualism will hopefully be celebrated in Cameroon from the 30th of January; 2017 to the 3rd of February, 2017 in conformity with the provisions of ArĂȘte No 055/B1/1464/MINEDUB/MINESEC of 6th July 2011, fixing the calendar of the 2016/2017 academic year in the nation.
On the National Bilingualism day, special highlights via intellectual, pedagogic, cultural, artistic, recreational and sporting activities, which enable learners to explore the opportunities inherent in the mastery of English & French, Cameroon’s official languages, will animate schools throughout the divisional and regional headquarters of the Country.
Instituted by the Ministerial Decision No 1141/B1/1464 of the 28th October 2002, as an opportunity to sensitize Cameroonian pupils and students on the importance of national integration through the use of both official languages in Cameroon, English and French, the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education hold joint ceremonies over national territory.

With prior objectives to ensure the progressive implementation of the Special Bilingual Education Programme; Develop the reading culture of teachers and students; Develop and improve the functional usage of official languages, English & French; Help learners become true citizens of the global village; Promote unity and national integration through quality social dialogue and interaction; facilitate the insertion of learners in the modern world through the appropriation of information and communication technologies; facilitate access to employment and the improvement of career profiles; and Promote a culture of excellence; questions are raised on why dialogue has not been attained between parties attempting the Anglophone problem, why bilingual youth who have graduated from schools still loom the quarters in search of job opportunities, why social dialogue and unity is still a myth to nationals, why the culture of excellence is still threatened and how such bootable goals were not efficiently attained? Questions that don’t give sleep to conscious citizens concerned about the national integration and peace of Cameroon. This is so, because the armed forces are on warfront for religious intolerance and many wonder if the nation will survive another internal hit coming through the face of language discrimination, marginalization and injustice.
With previous themes such as: ‘Bilingualism, factor of National integration’, ‘I am Cameroonian, I am Bilingual’, ‘I am Cameroonian, I am committed to Bilingualism’, ‘Bilingualism a window to the world’, ‘Bilingualism key to progress and success’, ‘Bilingualism key to progress and success: Factor of Scientific and technological Excellence’, ‘truly Bilingual Citizens for a Bilingual Cameroon’,  ‘Quality Bilingualism for Quality Education’ , ‘ Celebrating Quality Bilingualism, a window to professionalism’, ‘ Bilingualism for responsible citizenship’ , questions caress the lips of patriotic denizens as to what concrete impact such reflections have had on the bilingual Cameroonian.

Have such useful reflections succeeded to tear a people apart instead of consolidating the assets at all levels of education such that it becomes a factor of unity and national integration?  Were these topics thoroughly brushed to soak the spirits and souls of citizens with true and heroic patriotic seeds or were they just sorted out to justify the expenditures and beautify the pages of newspapers and the different news editions on radio and television?

If only citizens knew national integration is not characterized by the implementation of the special Bilingual Education Programme (SBEP) by circular No 20/08/MINESEC/IGE of the 2nd of December 2008, the Institution of the Bilingual game by circular letter No 31/09/MINESEC/IGE/IP-BIL of 03/09/2009 in Secondary General & Technical Schools and Technical Teacher Training Colleges, or the distribution of more than 220 000 books to Secondary schools to promote the reading culture, or the Distribution of more than 15 000 kits to Secondary schools , nationals would dig deeper and spare the nation of the motion
But how much importance did bilingual citizens give to self-examination in order to develop strategies which could help improve the bilingual status, acceptance and belonging?

 Now that the mastery of English and French is the seal that gives credence to the quality of the products of our Education system and a key to the modern world, how unified and integrated are the bilingual citizens? 


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