In Lagos, Nigeria the state government has announced a partnership with France to facilitate employment and enrichment of the youth population, through cultural and linguistic ties.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed the new development during a recent visit from the Minister of State for Development, Francophone and International Partnerships, Mrs. Chrysoula Zacharapolou, expressing the desire to turn potential opportunities into a reality.
“Nigeria is a country with potentials, and it is time to turn those potentials to real possibilities and opportunities for Nigerians through the different initiatives and partnerships. The state has gotten to a stage where the French language should be made compulsory for pupils in government-owned schools” he said.
– “There are very few countries in Africa that don’t speak English or French, and if one can speak both languages, you are able to communicate in most African countries. And this is something to prepare our youths for so they can be global citizens”.
The Governor also acknowledged a wide range of benefits across different sectors, from a partnership with France. Business, entertainment and culture were at the top of the list, while the state government’s established Six Pillars of Action and Agenda plan (an acronym dubbed THEMES PLUS) was also mentioned.
A crucial take away from Mrs Zacharapolou’s visit was the signing of the letter of intent to promote French language and improve its levels of teaching in state-owned secondary schools. The letter, signed by Emmanuelle Blatmann, Ambassador of France to Nigeria has been hailed as the start of a ‘linguistic revolution’ in Nigeria.
Mrs Zacharapolou noted an essential role in secondary school language education, and said “As we know, Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone countries and this will create more opportunities and links with these countries”.
She also commended the energy and will of the Nigerian people, reflecting that the best of the country can be felt almost immediately, adding “the collaboration will facilitate more employment and more innovation to Lagos State.”
Now educational and linguistic foundations have been laid for this new chapter, a French technical expert will be appointed within the Ministry of Education of Lagos State as French language advisor. The expert will advise the Ministry on improving teacher training, while overseeing a pilot project in 10 public schools.