Executor Director Kaba commends NASSCORP DG, appeals to President Weah for support
For Liberia to have an efficient pool of French-speaking professionals for the country, the government should include the only French-language institute (Alliance Française de Monrovia) in the Ministry of Education’s budgetary allotment, the institute’s director has said.
That was the position of Idrissa Kaba, executive director of Alliance Française de Monrovia, Liberia’s only private French-language institute, established in 1982 and initially supported by the Embassy of France near Monrovia.
Kaba said the Embassy of France stopped its financial support to the institute in 2013 and since then the school has been running with support through the generous courtesy of the director general of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), Dewitt von Ballmoos.
“He has been a great help to the institute,” Kaba said, “and words are inadequate to express the institute’s appreciation to Mr. von Ballmoos and NASSCORP.” He said through that support, the school has enjoyed free rental at the cost of US$22,000, free water, security support, and electricity.
Kaba explained that the institute was established by a Liberian who had lived in France, with financial support from the French Embassy near Monrovia. “When the French Embassy was providing support, the school was free to students,” he said.
While France supported the institute to help propagate its language and culture, Kaba said Liberia’s neighbors, Guinea and La Cote D’Ivoire as other members of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) whose official language is French, also assisted the process.
“Additionally, more than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organization of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member states and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world,” Kaba said.
He said Liberia has diplomatic missions in other countries, and therefore, Liberians who are proficient in French are the ones that should be assigned to those missions, “but they should be prepared through a structured and efficient language institute like Alliance Française de Monrovia.”
Kaba said the ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market, and therefore knowledge of French opens the doors to French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world, which include Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and parts of Africa.
He said if Liberia should a play lead role in West Africa, the African Union, the Confederation of Africa Football and others, then it is incumbent on the Liberian government to support an institution like Alliance Française de Monrovia for adequate preparation of its citizens to compete in the world market. “Our neighbors Guinea and La Cote D’Ivoire speak French and therefore it is important that we make French language education important,” he noted.
Kaba said Liberians who are appointed to work at Liberian embassies around the world should also be proficient in the French language.
He said French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theater, the visual arts, dance and architecture, and knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs.
Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French universities and business schools, ranked among the top higher education institutions in Europe and the world. Students with a good level of French are eligible for French government grants to enroll in postgraduate courses in France in the discipline of their choice and qualify for internationally recognized degrees.
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, African Union, ECOWAS, UNESCO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross, and international courts.
Kaba meanwhile appealed to President George Manneh Weah to support his appeal to include his institute on the official subsidy list or provide annual budgetary support to the school.
The school now has 28 students and three French-language professors.