Promotion of Official Languages : Bilingualism Commission Evaluates Practice

Thirteen mission teams will visit all 38 ministerial departments to evaluate the practice of bilingualism in the issuance of official documents.

Subsequent to the promulgation of Law No 2019/019 of December 24, 2019 on the promotion of official languages in Cameroon, members of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism (NCPBM) have started a three-day evaluation visit to ministries on the practices in the use of English and French. The evaluation mission by thirteen teams of the Commission started on August 24 and ends on August 28, 2020 with the objective of visiting 38 ministries. Propositions on improving the practice of bilingualism will be made at the end of the evaluation missions. 

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At the Ministry of Finance, George Ngwane, Member of the Commission was mission head and was received by the Secretary General of the Ministry, Gilbert Didier Edoa. Together with his team, George Ngwane visited several departments at the Ministry such as the financial resource department, human resource, mail service and reception, translation unit, communication and the judicial affairs departments. He equally requested for the audience forms to see how bilingual they are. Going by him, the objective of the evaluation mission is to appreciate from a user’s view point the practice of bilingualism and see how it can be improved. “Though there are still some lapses, there has been an improvement in the use of the two official languages in the Ministry of Finance. There is equally an increase in the English-French ration of personnel at the different Directorates,” he noted, adding that continuous efforts are needed for the promotion of official languages in Cameroon to enable the right message being received by users.  

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At the Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reforms, Jean Marc Afessi Mbafor led the team to the different departments. He was received by the Secretary General, Anatole Maina, who said efforts are made to ensure internal and external documents are published in both English and French to facilitate understanding of the concerned person(s). The promotion of bilingualism, he said, is a major action the Ministry is taking. Jean Marc Mbafor visited and evaluated the practice of bilingualism at the Department of General Affairs, department of career management, communication, translation and mail service, just to name a few. He was told recruitment announcements and launch of competitive entrance examinations are done in English and French, as the  Minister (Joseph LE) has been it a practice to reject signing documents presented to him only in one language. To step up bilingualism practice at the Ministry, some of the workers are sent to the linguistic centre for training. 

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Some other public institutions visited include the Ministries of Justice, Public Health, Water and Energy Resources, Tourism and Leisure, Supreme State Audit, Secondary Education and the Supreme State Audit. 

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Recommendations were presented to the members on how best to improve bilingualism in the country. 

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