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Cameroon Starts a Program to Save Its Native Languages

Here's How Cameroon Plans to Save Disappearing Languages

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Native languages
A teacher writes in Ewondo, one of Cameroon's native languages, at a school in Yaounde. VOA

Cameroon is commemorating International Mother Language Day, February 21, by launching what it calls an ambitious program to save its endangered national languages.

The central African state has over 260 national languages, but only 40 are taught in schools.  Cameroonians speak mostly French and English, which are foreign but official languages and part of an entrenched separatist conflict that has cost about 3,000 lives since 2017.

At the multilingual and inclusive government primary school Yaounde, 150 children between the ages of five and 11 years old learn how to count in Ewondo, a Cameroon national language spoken in the country’s central and southern regions. The students are also taught the national anthem and patriotic songs in Cameroon national languages.

Businessman Emmanuel Mbom, 31 years old, says he is satisfied at the progress made by his six-year old son at the school.

Native languages
Fabienne Freeland, director general of the nongovernmental organization Summer Institute of Linguistics, helps Cameroon in promoting the teaching of its native languages. VOA

“In my situation, my wife and I speak two different languages, native languages so my children try to pick what they can pick,” Mbom said.

Mbom says he is confused about which language to teach his children because his language is Sawa, spoken in the Littoral and Southwest regions of Cameroon, and his wife is from the Northwestern town of Nkambe, where the Limbum language is spoken.

Cameroon’s secretary of state in the ministry of basic education, Asheri Kilo, says she is satisfied with the level of interest the children display at speaking their national language.

“It is very impressive the way the children are taken into learning their languages, and I decided to check how many children are from other regions rather than Yaounde and I figured that there were children from all the 10 regions in Cameroon,” she said.

Cameroon has 260 national languages spoken by an estimated 25 million people in the 10 regions of the country. It is one of the countries the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) classifies as a distinctive cultural density on the linguistic map of the world.

However, the central African state inherited two foreign languages from its French and English colonial masters as official languages, with 80 percent of the population speaking French and 20 percent English.

Fabienne Freeland, director general of the nongovernmental organization Summer Institute of Linguistics that helps Cameroon in promoting the teaching and learning of its national languages, says the official languages have not been effective tools of communication.

“French and English has its limits on development in this country,” Freeland said. “When there was a cholera outbreak in the far north, it is only when the information started coming in Fufulde that people started changing behavior and the cholera was stopped.”

Native languages
Asheri Kilo, secretary of state in Cameroon’s ministry of basic education, is encouraged by students’ interests in learning their native languages. VOA

Cameroon’s national institute of statistics reports that four percent of the central African states’ local languages — including the Mbiame language spoken in the country’s English-speaking Northwest Region and the Ekung language in the South — have disappeared since 1950. Ten percent of the 260 languages are neglected and seven percent are threatened.

Seraphine Ben Boli, who heads the program to promote the use of Cameroon national languages, says a pilot program that is being implemented in the 10 regions of the country to save the remaining mother tongues from disappearing.

She says the ministry of basic or elementary education is experimenting with the teaching of five national languages in 43 schools throughout Cameroon. The languages chosen, for now, are Ewondo, Bassa, Douala, Womala and Fufulde, because of their national popularity. She says apart from the experimental schools, teachers in all educational establishments have received instructions and training to teach Cameroon national languages spoken in the areas where their schools are found.

Boli said Cameroon will decide by 2030 on which of the languages can be used as an official language, added to English and French. She said by so doing, they intend to solve the separatist crisis that has within the past four years claimed at least 3,000 lives just because people are divided as a result of two inherited colonial languages.

Separatists have been fighting to create an English-speaking state out of the French-speaking majority. The separatists say the education, legal system and cultural practices they inherited from their British colonial masters are different from those left by the French, who colonized the French-speaking regions of the country. Cameroon believes by having its own national language as an official language, many of its citizens will feel like Cameroonians, unlike in the past when they considered themselves either French or English.

Also Read- France Takes Steps to Shift to More Renewables For Energy

UNESCO says it celebrates mother tongue day because it believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies and it is within its mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others. (VOA)

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Why Study MBA in Canada

According to the national statistics office, the number of migrants entering Canada has grown from 250,000 last year to around 300,000 this year

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Canada
Canada has a globally recognized world-class education system and is considered one of the best places to pursue MBA. Pixabay

Canada has a highly diverse population and features a wide range of industries, world-class metropolitan cities, and most importantly internationally accredited business schools. Students can pursue a master’s in business administration with a specialized degree in finance, consulting or marketing. There are a lot of career opportunities in Canada, students can find work anywhere from the country’s financial services to any other sector. Many international students who study in the country receive their work visa just after completing their studies and can even expect to get a permanent residency after completing their studies. There are numerous benefits of doing MBA in Canada such as:

Quality education: Canada has a globally recognized world-class education system and is considered one of the best places to pursue MBA. Each year Canada attracts thousands of students from abroad. Its high academic standards and rigorous quality controls reflect the high-quality education provided which helps in successful and long term career plans.

Low tuition cost: Canada is often preferred choice for students because of the low tuition costs. Many organizations provide benefits to the students to pursue their studies successfully. The tuition fee that you pay may vary depending on where you choose to study. It is a developed country with a high-income economy and a successful government which makes it a fantastic place to live and study.

Multicultural experience: Universities come up with different events so that the students can mingle with multicultural people on and off the campus. Even though it is a mixed society but the universities and the government as well are trying to make sure that there won’t be any problems of race and color. They encourage multi-cultural integration and Canada has a national policy for multiculturalism and works to ensure that people’s customs and traditions are preserved and respected.

Research: The study programs delivered by Canadian universities are more focused on research where students get to engage in interesting experiments and projects which are meant to provide students with an innovative study experience.

Internship programs: There are plentiful opportunities for business students who can combine academics with an internship or work experience in the field of your study which in turn can diversify and develop your professional skills.

Degree
Students can pursue a master’s in business administration with a specialized degree in finance, consulting or marketing. Pixabay

Multilingual: English and French are the official languages of Canada and it has become a multilingual country with the arrival of so many people from different nationalities with so many languages, religions, and cultures. It is a great opportunity for the students to learn different languages. Students can enrich their linguistic and communicative skills while being enrolled in a Canadian university.

Immigration: According to the national statistics office, the number of migrants entering Canada has grown from 250,000 last year to around 300,000 this year. On account of the open door policy of Canada, immigrants and their descendants have made immeasurable contributions to Canada’s economy. After completing their studies, students with Canadian credentials and Canadian work experience can apply for permanent residency.

Beautiful landscape: Canada has spectacular scenery, landscapes that can be explored throughout the year. The cold season provides a great opportunity for dedicated skiers and ice skaters to practice their sport in majestic surroundings.

Canada has a highly diverse population and features a wide range of industries, world-class metropolitan cities, and most importantly internationally accredited business schools. Students can pursue a master’s in business administration with a specialized degree in finance, consulting or marketing. There are a lot of career opportunities in Canada, students can find work anywhere from the country’s financial services to any other sector. Many international students who study in the country receive their work visa just after completing their studies and can even expect to get a permanent residency after completing their studies. There are numerous benefits of doing MBA in Canada such as:

Quality education: Canada has a globally recognized world-class education system and is considered one of the best places to pursue MBA. Each year Canada attracts thousands of students from abroad. Its high academic standards and rigorous quality controls reflect the high-quality education provided which helps in successful and long term career plans.

Low tuition cost: Canada is often preferred choice for students because of the low tuition costs. Many organizations provide benefits to the students to pursue their studies successfully. The tuition fee that you pay may vary depending on where you choose to study. It is a developed country with a high-income economy and a successful government which makes it a fantastic place to live and study.

Multicultural experience: Universities come up with different events so that the students can mingle with multicultural people on and off the campus. Even though it is a mixed society but the universities and the government as well are trying to make sure that there won’t be any problems of race and color. They encourage multi-cultural integration and Canada has a national policy for multiculturalism and works to ensure that people’s customs and traditions are preserved and respected.

Research: The study programs delivered by Canadian universities are more focused on research where students get to engage in interesting experiments and projects which are meant to provide students with an innovative study experience.

Internship programs: There are plentiful opportunities for business students who can combine academics with an internship or work experience in the field of your study which in turn can diversify and develop your professional skills.

Multilingual: English and French are the official languages of Canada and it has become a multilingual country with the arrival of so many people from different nationalities with so many languages, religions, and cultures. It is a great opportunity for the students to learn different languages. Students can enrich their linguistic and communicative skills while being enrolled in a Canadian university.

Canadian Flag, Canada, Maple, Country, Immigration
Canada has a highly diverse population and features a wide range of industries, world-class metropolitan cities, and most importantly internationally accredited business schools. Pixabay

Immigration: According to the national statistics office, the number of migrants entering Canada has grown from 250,000 last year to around 300,000 this year. On account of the open door policy of Canada, immigrants and their descendants have made immeasurable contributions to Canada’s economy. After completing their studies, students with Canadian credentials and Canadian work experience can apply for permanent residency.

ALSO READ: Credihealth Launches Dedicated Tele/Video Consultation Service

Beautiful landscape: Canada has spectacular scenery, landscapes that can be explored throughout the year. The cold season provides a great opportunity for dedicated skiers and ice skaters to practice their sport in majestic surroundings.