Kyambogo University signed a memorandum of Understanding with the French Embassy in Uganda on 9th November 2020 for a grant awarded that aimed at promoting the teaching and learning of the French language in Ugandan Public Universities which is to be implemented up to 18th February 2022.

Other than Kyambogo three other Universities were also given the grant, and these included Makerere University, Makerere Business School and Kabaale University. Below are the representatives of the four Universities with the French ambassador and two other officials at the French embassy.

On behalf of Kyambogo, the MOU was signed by the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Kyazike Elizabeth who was accompanied by the French lecturer, Dr. Victoria Bakulumpagi as seen in the photo below. Dr. Victoria worked hard from the inception of the call for grant proposals until the end. Thus special thanks go to her.

As part of the activities for implementing the Project was a  three-days training workshop that run from the 14th to 16th December 2020 at the NPT Conference Hall and was attended by 20 students undertaking French studies at Diploma and Bachelor’s degree as well as their six lecturers. This was one of the activities aimed at enhancing the French language through web radio

The training was facilitated by Ms Marie Rose Berocan, Vice President of the Association of Teachers of French in Uganda (APFO), Mr. Thomas Letakamba Mbusa Director at Radio Bonjour, Kampala, and Ms.Magaly Losange, Trainer of Trainers at Alliance Francaise

The Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences graced the opening ceremony at which she thanked the French Embassy for the generosity and pledged commitment to have the Project implemented successfully as per schedule.

The workshop was aimed at initiating the members of the French Club into the use of e-resources in the teaching of French as a foreign language. The trainers came from Bonjour Kampala, a recently created online francophone radio in Uganda and Alliance Francaise de Kampala, a renowned French language centre located in Kamwokya.  Dr Victoria Bakurumpagi noted that the workshop was the first step towards the creation of a platform on which members of the French clubs of the four beneficiaries of the FSPI project can interact, enrich each other, continue practising their French amid the interruption of learning brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The trainers, Mr. Thomas Letakamba, Marie-Rose Berocan and Magaly Losange interacted with our learners on modern methods of teaching the French language with emphasis on the most recent one, the Action based approach (Approche actionnelle). This is a competency-based approach that skillfully integrates ICT in learning to enable the learner to continue learning in a more autonomous way even when the instructor is far away. In her excellent presentation, Marie-Rose Berocan emphasised that you do not learn French in order to pocket it but to speak it, to use it to get services or to render services to the community.

The learners had a hands-on interaction on the Bonjour Kampala, RFI Savoirs and TV5 Monde website platforms. The resources available on those sites were based on the language levels defined by the European Framework of languages (A1, A2, B1.B2, C1, C2) A1 is the most basic one while C2 is the most advanced level corresponding to the most fluent speaker of French. In order to get admission in a French university, for example, depending on the program selected, you need to have attained level B2 or C1 level of proficiency in French.

On Bonjour Kampala (www.bonjourkampala.com), one can listen to interviews in French, answer questions and also try out some exercises. Everything is classified according to proficiency levels.  As a learner, you can prepare yourself to sit DELF exams (Certificate in Basic French) or DALF exams (Advanced Certificate in French) at Alliance Francaise. These are internationally recognised certificates which add value to your academic profile by specifying your level of proficiency in French. As part of this Project, our lecturers will be facilitated to undertake these examinations to enable them to compete favourably. The grant will also train one Masters in French at D’Artois Univesity in France. Thus we use this opportunity to call upon all interested and qualified people to apply for this scholarship. Other than that the Project will also create a French corner in the main Library at Kyambogo University.

Ms. Magaly Losange, Director of studies at AFK, illustrated how a radio interview in French could be turned into a teaching material not only to teach French grammar, vocabulary, aspects of culture but also communication skills in French. She took the audio from an interview carried out.

Ms. Lucille FONTAINE, the Cooperation Attaché, French Embassy in Uganda

The participants were also given skills to enable them to identify e-resources appropriate to a specific language level. In subsequent training sessions, we hope to teach them to write French articles for publications on online radios and journals for an international audience.  French learning is slowly becoming practical. Mr. Cyprian K. Walaita, chairman of the French club, thanked the French embassy for this opportunity given to the Kyambogo University students.

Mr. Katerrega Stephen, one of the students who attended the training was all full of praises for the pedagogical training in the use of multimedia especial web radio in the teaching of the French language given the challenges brought about by the Covid19 pandemic that require less human contact. In his words, he noted that this would simplify teaching without getting physical contact with the student.

Mr. John Obina one of the lecturers, narrated his experiences in the process of acquiring the French language. It is essential to invest time in learning it through watching movies in French, listening to radio documentaries in order to hear the correct pronunciation and correct your own. Therefore face to face with lecturers can never be enough.

The closing ceremony was graced by Ms. Lucille Fontaine, theCooperation Attaché – Education and French Language Focal Person at the French Embassy in Uganda and The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance and Administration) Assoc. Prof Nabugoomu Fabian, who appreciated the funding extended to the university towards the promotion of the teaching and learning of French as a foreign language.

He noted that his desire is to see that Kyambogo becomes bilingual and would wish to see that in the next ten years the French language is spoken as a second foreign language by students and staff at the university.

The participants were awarded certificates in the presence of the Dean, Dr Elisabeth Kyazike, the VC(F&A), Prof Fabian Nabugoomu and the Linguistic attaché, Ms Lucille Fontaine.