Schools win prizes from first French competition

Gerrard Obote, a student at Kyambogo University (right) won 1,000 Euros from Njogera Français, the French language competition in schools. PHOTO/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

What you need to know:

  • Students, teachers and schools  win prizes from Njogera Francais langauge competition.

One year after the official launch of the first French competition dubbed Njogera Francais by Alliance Francaise de Kampala (AFK), the main French language and cultural center in Uganda, participants finally reaped what they sowed.

Earlier this month, teachers, students (from primary, secondary schools and university), and the schools earned themselves prizes for emerging the best from the French competition.

The competition 
AFK launched the competition on March 12, 2022 to support and enhance French student ambitions and interests in the language countrywide. Seventeen schools and two universities entered this competition. From secondary schools were 688 students and 20 from the university. 

During their preparation, according to Victor Petit, deputy director AFK, learners were not only sent native French speaker supervisors to help evaluate their speaking skills, but also digital library to avail them with different French materials such as books and French films from Africa and elsewhere.

The finale saw six schools win computers, two teachers win a trip to France, learners scooped iPads and the best university students took a cash prize of €1000.

Karim Cwinya’ay, the course coordinator at AFK and Njogera Francais project manager, says the project has received more sponsors including MTN Foundation, Cfao, and Total Energies.

“This means that the second phase (of the competition) is going to extend outside Kampala, making it a national competition with more schools participating,” says Cwinya’ay.

Felix Tumuhimbise, teacher of French at Greenhill Academy, Kibuli, emerged as the teacher for the school with the highest number of students joining the competition and Michael Kushemerewa, teacher at Nabisunsa Girls’ Secondary School emerged as teacher of French from the school with the highest average score (88per cent ).

Petit says the two teachers won a trip to France, which will entail two weeks training in ICT essentials to further help them master the art of teaching French in a digitally, fun way.

Kushemerewa says the victory stems from the fact that his students believed in him and the head teacher gave him support. He attributes the high scores to his ability to teach the different French curricula.

“I teach both the national and international curricula. I have also been trained as a Delf examiner so, I used those advantages to equip my students better,” Kushemererwa shares.

This training, he believes, will help him boost his pre-existing knowledge. He advises schools and parents to empower children to join such competitions because even when they do not win prizes, they earn a certificate that does not expire.

Teachers and learners from different schools show off their prizes the French competition. PHOTO/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

Tumuhimbise on the other hand, is excited as this will be his maiden trip to France.
“When we are teaching, we tell students that one of the reasons French is important is that it presents one with opportunities to travel. I have been saying this although I had never been to France,” he says.

Tumuhimbise believes that after this trip, he will be giving examples out of first-hand experience because he will have spent two weeks immersed in the language’s ‘motherland’. He looks forward to making friends and networks that will help him individually and career-wise.  

Petit adds that this trip will help the teachers to enhance oral skills of the students studying French language.

With this internationally recognised DELF certificate, depending on the level one is at, can enhance one’s curriculum vitae and help one in acquiring certain jobs, especially from international companies in and outside Uganda. These include North and West African plus French companies.

“With Delf A2, one can easily obtain a residence card in France, level B1, one can obtain French nationality and levels B2 and C1 allow one admission to any European francophone universities,” Petit says. 

Cwinya’ay says passing the Delf examination does not only boost one’s CV, but also helps one prove the level they are in incase they want to upgrade. 

Relevance of French
Yves Mercier, head of Cooperation at the French Embassy, says learning French is a strategic move for various reasons; more French-speaking countries have been admitted to the East African Community (EAC) and French as a language has made two years after being made the third spoken language after English and Kiswahili in EAC.

Yves notes that Njogera Francais is the first event of the Francophonie month bringing in other events in different places such as French schools and the embassy among others, teaching and showcasing French culture to the world.

Xavier Sticker, the ambassador of France to Uganda, notes that they are relying on AFK and other schools to promote French. Sticker remarks that French may be for professional, philosophical, or personal reasons, so that one can blend in or even make deals without a third party. 

“French learning in form of a competition by Alliance Francaise will be encouraging stimulating learners through conversations to easily learn the language, leading to them having more than one language proficiency,” Sticker says.

The ambassador of Egypt to Uganda congratulates Gabriella Nakato from Aga Khan Primary School upon excelling in Delf Prim. PHOTO/PROMISE TWINAMUKYE

For  Joweriah Butele, a customer relations experience officer at cfao Uganda, their partnership with Njogera Francais, she notes that to promote the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4), and it is a privilege for them to help in promoting quality education through an extra language. 

“This will help the learners, especially as they compete with the rest on the international scene as they advance their synergies across the globe. We are giving the children the opportunity to go international from the word go,” Butele says.

She assured that their partnership is running for the next three years and hope to make a difference in the country.

It is with the same cause that MTN Foundation (Uganda) and Total energies come aboard to especially open the door for employability and skill when it comes to the local and international business ventures. 

Anita Kayongo, corporate communications manager, Total Energies also noted that sustainable development cannot be achieved without the youth and 50 per cent of their budget is to ensure the youth are employable.

Milburga Atcero, chairperson board of AFK, before launching the second Njogera Francais competition said the future jobs will be pegged to the different languages people know. 
“It would be wise to not only learn a language, but to also practice it,” Atcero says.

Other winners 

• Gerrard Obote won €1,000, while Rahab Nimusiima and Vivian Namubiru from Kyambogo University won tablets. 
• Gabrielle Sekyewa Nakato (Aga khan Primary School), Bhatt Misha Killol (Kampala Diplomatic School International), Jotham James Tibagwa, Jedi Joram Ntalo and Ogwang Faith Ruth (Hill Side Primary School Naalya) received iPads for Delf Prim.
• Hiwett Opinia Ngaka (Bishop Cypriano Kihangire), Busingye Favour Bwesigye (Ntare School), Salem Yoshua Kaleka (Green Hill Academy) of Delf Junior won iPads.
• Pearl Karaba (Mt St Mary Namagunga), Dan Ngabirano (Ntare School), and Mercy Babirye (Taibah International School) for Level A2.
• Joelle Kalinda Nabakatsi, Andre Mparanyi Mutuzi (Taibah International School), Kajemba Ashuza Louis M. (Gayaza High School) for B1.