Dar es Salaam. The government of France said it will spend Sh995 million (euro 385,000) in the next two years to provide scholarships to up to 50 Tanzanian students and lecturers to study French language in France.
France ambassador to Tanzania Mr Frederic Clavier said the 2020/21 scholarship package will also enable Tanzanian students to take masters courses in different field such as agriculture, education and science.
The envoy was briefing journalists on celebrations of the 50 anniversary of the French language in Tanzania.
Thirteen countries who are members of the Internal Organisation of Francophonie (OIF) will celebrate the French language and Francophonie in Tanzania to promote the language with within the existing linguistic and cultural diversity. The celebration will start on 17 to 28, this March.
The counties include French, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Morocco, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles island, Switzerland, Comoros island, Burundi and Vietnam.
According to him, the funds would be channelled to train some experts to study French so that they teach the language to upcoming graduates in the country.
“This year already a total number of 150 students have started to apply to study French language in French. French is truly an international language as it is spoken in five continents by 300 million people. It is projected to be spoken by 500 million in the next ten years, and 700 million people by 2050, therefore people should take this as an opportunity,” he said.
Morocco ambassador to Tanzania Mr Abdelilah Benryane said French is largely spoken in Tanzania with 1.5milion speakers and it was the only foreign language besides English in schools curricula.
“We annually provide 30 scholarship to Tanzanian students, first year of university they study French language before they venture into specified field. Unfortunately, the enrolment is very low,” said the envoy.
Mr Benryane who also OIF vice chairman said the offered 30 scholarships in 2017 to support Tanzanian students to study in Morocco but only 20 registered for the scholarship.
“With the collaboration of France and other French language stakeholders, we are working on how to involve Alliance Francaise so that students could be attracted to study French in schools,” he said.