THE International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) has given Ghana an associate membership status.
This implies that Ghana will be given special attention in the study of the French language and the promotion of democratic values.
Ghana is among six other countries, namely Burundi, Greece, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique and Romania, which are to benefit from the initiative from the OIF.
OIF is an association of about 56 countries that adhere to democratic values, cultural diversity through co-operation and the use of the French language.
In line with this, the Secretary General of OIF, Mr Abdou Diouf, has sent special representatives to these countries to access their priorities and challenges as members of the community.
The Special representative to Ghana, Mrs Brigitte Girardin, was a former French Minister for Cooperation, Development and Francophonie.
She advocated for Ghana to be granted an associate membership at the organisation during the 2006 OIF summit in Bucharest.
At a press conference, she said her visit was to interact with the appropriate Ghanaian authorities on the teaching of French and find out where the main challenges were as well as opportunities for improvement.
These would be discussed at the Heads of State and Governments Summit of the Organisation in Quebec, Canada.
For Ghana, MRs Girardin said four proposals were being firmed up to be tabled at the Summit.
These were the strengthening of French language skills for Ghanaian diplomats and public officers with international responsibilities and engagements and increasing the number of teachers of French at the secondary and tertiary levels.
The third proposal was developing partnership with the private sector for the teaching of the language in private companies and associations and creating a bilingual sign system for tourist sites and international areas.
Mr Girardan said with the teaching of the language, there was a shortage of about 4000 teachers at the secondary level that had to be filled with the co-operation of the OIF.
She added that these proposals that were being discussed with the appropriate Ghanaian authorities would help strengthen the desire of the country to speak the French language.
She commended the country for making a voluntary choice to belong to the OIF and identify with its values.
SUBMITTED TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2008
PUBLISHED, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2008, PG 44