ISLAMABAD: The number of students learning French in Pakistan has decreased over time, but the French ambassador has a strategy to revive interest in the language.
Ambassador Philippe Thiébaud said, “We are planning to develop a series of activities, engaging universities and institutions to not just promote the language but the cultural aspect as well.”
The promotion of the language in high schools is a part of the long term strategy, but cooperation in all areas is essential, he said. The strategy will take time to work, it may take as long as two years or more, he added.
He was speaking at a reception hosted in connection with the International French Speaking World week at the French embassy on Wednesday.
The ambassador said that French language is important for all those people who want to be working in French-speaking countries and companies abroad that require the need to know French as a working language.
A French language teacher said, “It’s just not the same anymore.” Citing security concerns, the teacher said that the influx of French teachers coming from France has stopped. “Now it’s only Pakistanis who are teaching the language here.”
French Embassy Cooperation Development and Culture Counsellor Dr Frederic Bessat told The Express Tribune that they aim to teach French at high school level. He added that at the moment there are 1,050 students learning French in Aitchison College in Lahore, but they aim to up this number to 1,300 by 2014.
The event was attended by representatives of educational institutions where French language is taught, teachers of French at the Alliance Française of Islamabad, NUML and winners of different competitions.
During the week, the Alliance Française and the National University of Modern Language (NUML) held a series of events. These include: spelling, French poetry and music competition, speech/debate contest, screening of documentaries, games, theatre play, singing competition and cultural show.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2012.