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PAFEG head speaks on project

Feb 7, 2012, 12:31 PM

The head of the Gambia-France Cooperation Project (PAFEG) at the French Embassy in Banjul has spoken of his country’s project, which among others seeks to develop the Francophone environment and support the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to put French as a core subject in schools.

Youssef Arrif, who arrived in The Gambia two months ago to head the project, was speaking yesterday shortly after he paid a courtesy call on the management of The Point newspaper accompanied by the Charge d’Affaires at the French Embassy in Banjul.

Arrif, who could not hide his impression about The Point newspaper, which features a daily French column, said the project has 80 pilot schools in the six regions of the country.

“Our work is to develop the implementation of the pilot of the French language as a core subject, and also to support teachers and establish resource centres in all the six different regions. We also seek to support the University of The Gambia for the Masters Degree in French, Library, the Gambia College and also train new French teachers,” he explained.

According to him, such support has been given to some Francophone countries like Togo under which some teachers were sent to Dakar and some to Ziguinchor with a view to create closer cooperation with universities in those countries.

He also noted that in order to enhance the Francophone environment, the mass media needs to be engaged and, as a result, the French Embassy will partner with the media to boost use of the French language in The Gambia.

Describing the project as important and timely, Arrif noted that the project, based on a request from the Gambia government, will further help enhance all Francophone environments in The Gambia and help the Gambia government to introduce French in schools and train teachers.

“Honestly, I’m very happy; first I’m happy to be in The Gambia, a very friendly country, and I can see that a lot of development has been made in this country. With my short stay here, I noticed that the ministry of Education, the University of The Gambia, The Gambia College and all Francophone actors are working very hard,” Arrif told our reporter.

Noting that France-Gambia cooperation is working progressively, Arrif expressed optimism that the cooperation will grow from strength to strength, and develop for the betterment of the two countries.