Factors contributing to the decline of French in Zambian Public Schools: A case of Central and Lusaka Provinces

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Machinyise, Elliot
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In Zambia today, French is the only foreign language after English which is taught in public schools. Currently, French is only taught in high schools with exception of few mission schools which teach it at junior secondary level. However, the country has seen a steady decline in the teaching of French as a subject in many schools. In other words, a good number of schools have in the recent past stopped teaching French. This has raised some concern among stakeholders as to why most schools were stopping leaching this once popular subject. Besides many schools stopping teaching French, a number of teachers of French and pupils who learn it have reduced in schools where it is taught.The study was set out to investigate the factors contributing to the decline of French in public schools in selected schools of Central and Lusaka Provinces. The data was collected through questionnaires and interviews. The key informants included; pupils, teachers of French, School Managers, Education Managers (officials from the Ministry of Education, Examination Council of Zambia and Curriculum Development Centre) and an official from the French Embassy.The findings from the study revealed that there were a lot of factors that contributed to the decline of French in public schools which included the shortage of teachers of French, inadequate teaching and learning materials, teachers and pupils' lack of motivation, the status of French in the school curriculum and pupils' attitude towards French. In view of the research findings, recommendations were made, inter alia, that the number of students studying French in teacher training institutions be increased so as to have enough teachers of French deployed in schools. Recommendations were also made to the ministry of education to make French compulsory in schools where it is taught and also to intensify the teaching of French in basic schools. The study also made strong recommendations to the French Embassy to reconsider sending teachers of French to French speaking countries as a way of motivating them. The embassy was also urged to supply public schools with adequate teaching and learning materials
French- -Zambia public schools