Antwerp School of Education

Augustine Lumwanga

Contextualisation of Learning French in the Zambian Situation: A Case Study of Luanshya Boys Secondary School, Zambia

Zaterdag 15 Mei 2021 - 10u-11u


French as a teaching and learning subject was introduced way back in 1953 when Zambia was called Northern Rhodesia (Chishiba and Manchishi, 1998: 1). The first class of French had 25 learners and this was at Munali Secondary School in Lusaka.

On 24th October 1964, when Zambia was born and became an Independent and Sovereign   Country, the new government under His Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the First Republican President, introduced the teaching of French as a subject in twelve other secondary schools (missionary and non-missionary schools).

The progression in number of schools offering French was quite fast, as in 1969 about 80 public and missionary schools were offering the subject (Chishiba, 1994). And this was in line with the recommendation of the languages experts meeting in Yaoundé in Cameroon in 1961, where these experts proposed the bilinguals’ concept in all Anglophone and francophone African Countries (CDC, 2000). And this recommendation was unanimously approved by the African Head of States during the O.A.U conference in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 1963.

 Following the Addis Ababa Conference which recommended that english should be taught in  francophone Countries and french to be taught in anglophone Countries, in Zambia the learning of French as a Foreign Language was introduced in a few institutions  and  offered as an optional subject in some secondary schools in the country. Some years down the line, the learning of French became very difficult to the Zambian learners with foreign names of human beings, food, towns or cities and so on.

The Zambian learners started dropping French one by one because it also became difficult writing an exam or exams in French. Parents never encouraged their children to take French any more. Head teachers discouraged the learning of French in their schools because of the low passing rate which affected school statistics in terms of rankings.

Therefore, this paper looks at how Luanshya Boys was used as a study site in the contextualisation of the learning of French. Questionnaires and interviews were used for data collection. All the grades taking French were involved; one grade eight (8) class, one grade nine (9) class, one grade ten (10), one grade eleven (11) class and finally one grade twelve (12) class.

In total 50 pupils were involved; twenty (20) learners interviewed while thirty (30) pupils were subjected to questionnaires.

 The contextualization of the learning of French saw a good number of learners who dropped French, coming back because it became quite simple for them to understand and appreciate French despite some challenges in terms of learning materials.

Key words: Contextualisation, French as a Foreign Language, recommandation, teaching, learning and learners.