French centre launches schools competition

Director of Alliance Française de Kampala, Dr. Patrice Gilles

What you need to know:

  • The centre said it is partnering with the French Embassy, Total Energies, Campus France Uganda, and the French Education International.

Alliance Française de Kampala (AFK), the main French language and cultural centre in Uganda, has launched a French speaking competition dubbed ‘Njogera Francais’ to support and enhance French students’ ambitions and interests in the language countrywide.
The launch kicked off at the centre on Saturday with registration of interested institutions.

The centre said it is partnering with the French Embassy, Total Energies, Campus France Uganda, and the French Education International.
According to Mr Patrice Gilles, the executive director of AFK, the competition is based on examinations at Alliance Francaise called DELF (Diploma in French language) delivered by the French ministry of Education. 
The competition targets learners from primary, secondary and university institutions.

Mr Gilles said he was motivated to support teachers and students in learning French because Ugandans were eager to learn a language from a country far away.
“Although means are limited sometimes we made an effort this year to come up with a competition to reward the best students and schools and teachers, and also get the other students diplomas that will benefit them for life,” Mr Gilles said.
Mr Michael Kushemererwa, a teacher of French at Nabisunsa Girls School, said DELF examinations are different from the French from Ugandan curriculum.
He said the former give one a stronger command in the language while the latter is seen by students as a subject to pass, with little effort to understand it deeply.
Mr Kushemererwa also said the competition will help the students beyond the awards.

“After the competition, students will get certificates (whether they have won or not), that will increase their international job opportunities as well as learning to speak one more international language, an added advantage, especially when they find themselves in any Francophone country,” he said.
Mr Jean Gavazda, a business development and corporate affairs director at Total Energies Uganda, said the competition is in line with the corporate social responsibility.
He said it is one of the activities that falls under their promotion on environmental safety and education, which the company believes will benefit Ugandans.

“This will give students an opportunity to learn a new language as well as earn their internationally recognized certificate to complement their career,” Mr Gavazda said.
Teachers call for support Teachers, who attended the launch, welcomed the competition.
However, some called for support for the smooth learning of their students if they are to excel in the exams.
“We need support from the French embassy to put up language laboratories to help us teach the students better. The teachers also need to be helped in training, especially while using modern equipment. The blackboards are getting out of style,” Mr Kushemererwa said.
The best students will be awarded with prizes, including computer tablets, books and scholarships.

The best schools will also get desktops equipped with software for learning French, an online platform that has resources such as films, music and various resources to help in learning French. The best two teachers will win a trip to France to be part of a training session to improve their use of art for teaching French.
Interested schools can reach out to Alliance Francais if they want to be a part of the competition on behalf of their students.
The winners will be determined after the students have done DELF examinations, which start on April 1 to November 26. The exams will, therefore, determine the deadline for registration which will be between March 25 and September 24.