Evaluating the pertinence of foreign languages (German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Italian) in Cameroon’s education curriculum: needs for reform of the curriculum and language in education policy

https://doi.org/10.48185/she.v3i1.452

Authors

Keywords:

language in education policy, foreign language, curriculum, cameroon

Abstract

The ongoing debate regarding the decolonisation of Africa should focus primarily on the domain of education, as ideologies about languages are reflected, implemented and reproduced in the language in education policy (LIEP) of a country. Most African countries have inherited the Western monolingual LIEPs and have given prevalence to ex-colonial languages as official languages of education, media, and administration. Some countries, like Cameroon (host to more than 270 African languages), have gone beyond preferring French and English as a medium of instruction, adding more foreign languages (German, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, and Arabic) in secondary schools and universities, to the detriment of national languages. Most studies on language policy address the issue of language as a medium of instruction and neglect to critically evaluate the pertinence and relevance of the generalised teaching/learning of foreign languages in schools and universities in Cameroon. This study looks at the connection between teaching foreign languages and Cameroonians' transnational aspirations. The data were collected from discussions on two Facebook threads about the topic, discussions with lecturers of foreign languages at university, and a meta-synthesis analysis of existing statistics about international migration for educational purposes. The findings reveal that inbound international migration flux is associated with language but is not the most crucial factor. As a result, the study suggests either suppressing the generalised teaching of foreign languages in the francophone subsystem of education and setting up a public-private partnership or at least suppressing the Spanish and Italian languages whose knowledge has not provided any direct benefit for the majority of the learner. The cost of running those languages is not equivalent to the return.

Published

2022-07-11

How to Cite

Ngouo, H. R. (2022). Evaluating the pertinence of foreign languages (German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Italian) in Cameroon’s education curriculum: needs for reform of the curriculum and language in education policy. Studies in Humanities and Education, 3(1), 24–47. https://doi.org/10.48185/she.v3i1.452

Issue

Section

Articles