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Cameroon:Stakeholders brainstorm on introduction of mother tongue in schools

Stakeholders in language and education have rounde off a two-day workshop on ways to introduce the mother tongue in the academic curricula.

The workshop that took place in Yaounde on February 13-14 brought together members of the National Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the National Commission of Cameroon for UNESCO,  government ministries in charge of education, researchers and linguists.

« The idea of the workshop was a follow up to the first phase and to ensure that issues concerning the use of local languages are taken into account for the sectorial plan for education, » Hilaire Mputu, UNESCO’s Regional Coordinator for Education in Central Africa said.

With over 200 local languages in Cameroon, the experts looked at ways to carve out feasible and workable strategies to promote and implement the use of the mother tongue in Camroon’s educational system.

Despite the various languages, the experts all agreed there must be a starting point to teach local languages in schools in Cameroon and take them to the higher level. The fact that teachers are already being trained on local languages at thevarious institutes of higher learning, to implement at the basic level is already a positive sign, experts said.

The Director of the National Centre for Education at the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Prof Stephen Mforteh proposed the languages could be grouped according to regions and taught at the various language departments in the different universities.

Thus, the various stakeholders agreed that for the effective implementation of the mother tongue in the education milieu, it should be accompanied by the integration of culture.

« It is not only about language but culture plays a greater part. Any language goes with a culture, a language is an indicator of a culture and we think it is nsecessary to promote the culture of a people while they are learning a language, »the Regional Director and Representative of the UNESCO office in Abuja, Ydo Yao said.

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