Amid broad debate about French language’s place in France’s former African colonies, Algeria is denying that efforts to force Francophone private schools to adopt the country’s national curriculum constitute hostility toward French.
Education Minister Abdelkrim Belabed said that no languages were being “targeted” in Algeria and noted that multilingualism was among the education system’s major achievements.
“All languages are welcome,” he said Saturday.
Algeria has more French speakers than all but two nations — France itself and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nearly 15 million people out of the country’s population of 44 million speak it, according to the International Organization of the French Language. But Algeria is among the many nations throughout Africa placing a greater emphasis on English and Indigenous languages and, in the process, reevaluating French’s role in school and society.
Neighboring Mali changed its constitution to remove French from its list of official languages and Morocco made English classes compulsory in high schools.
This year, Algeria is expanding English language courses in elementary schools and doubling down on efforts to enforce a law requiring that private schools — including ones that have taught almost exclusively in French — abide by the predominantly Arabic national curriculum.
Source : Africa News