From a detailed report tendered recently during the 2010 regional launching of the fifth edition of the National Day of Bilingualism under the theme 'Quality Bilingualism for Quality Education', the South West Regional Delegate for Secondary Education, Francis Ngundu, declared, that "a lot has been achieved as far as the promotion of bilingualism is concerned, but there is much needs to be done".
Matching facts with figures, the regional delegate indicated that an acute shortage of language teachers especially French exists in the region which constitutes a major obstacle to the promotion of bilingualism. For a total of 110,249 students in the region, the delegate said, there are only 296 French teachers, amongst which there are 102 part-time teachers as against 194 permanent, making a ratio of 372 students to one teacher.
Furthermore, the regional delegate lamented, that of the 174 public schools in the region, 76 schools do not have a single French teacher. Gloomy and un-inspiring as regional delegate's message proved to be, he chipped in a ray of hope.
On a consolatory note, the delegate enumerated the giant strides taken by government to make bilingualism a reality. In this vein, he talked of the pilot centres in Buea, Kumba, Muea which all have a Lycee and Mambanda without a high school. The centres, he explained, are supposed to reflect government's vision for a true, meaningful and genuine bilingualism.
As for the theme, the governor's special representative, Chief of Social and Cultural Affairs, Edwin Keyna Ngwana, said Cameroon remains one of those united countries operating with two language systems.
Special award to promoters of bilingualism
Unique in the fifth edition of the launching of the National Day of Bilingualism were social recognition to students, schools, teachers and authorities who have contributed in one form or the other to the growth of bilingualism.
For students, the journalism club of GBHS Kumba won the heart of the jury as an exemplary outlet for bilingualism. The students in special news slot demonstrated their flexibility in the two languages. As for schools, GBHS Kumba proved unrivalled in its quest to be fully Cameroonian. The school demonstrated its art in the numerous shows its exhibited be it in songs, sketches or roundtable talks.
Meanwhile, Evaristus Kome won the teachers prize as an effective promoter of bilingualism while Stephen Sube, Divisional Delegate for Secondary Education for Ndian, proved himself as the best promoter of bilingualism among all the six divisional delegates.
Other speakers like the regional inspector coordinator in charge of bilingualism, Takam Dorothe, principal of GBHS Kumba, Charles Mukete and others shared a common view that bilingualism had its place in the Cameroon of today and tomorrow and must be encouraged.