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42 Pass Out Of Buea Linguistic Centre 

By Azore Opio — Forty-two bilingual trainees, April 20, passed out of the Southwest Regional Linguistic Centre, Buea.

The trainees were awarded bilingual training certificates (BTC) at a ceremony presided over by 1st Assistant Secretary General at the Presidency, Prof. Chief Peter Agbor Tabi.

Some of the awardees included senior administrators like Simon Kouemo, SDO for Kupe-Muaneguba and Magistrate Godwill Okia Mukete, Deputy Secretary of the National Assembly.

“I would like to recall that the seat of bilingualism was placed in this very town, Buea. Today, as we prepare to celebrate reunification, bilingualism is, therefore, a veritable feature of reunification,” said Buea Mayor, Charles Mbella Moki, in a welcome speech.

In a speech, the Director of the Linguistic Centre, Samson Oke Akombi, said, “Bilingualism is on the move in the Southwest Region.”

According to the Director, the number of bilingual trainees increased from 15 to 42, a clear indication that bilingualism is catching on in the Region.

“There has been a lot of progress because when I took over it was like a dead place. The Centre has become more visible in terms of staff motivation, student population which has increased and also in terms of infrastructure. The Centre now has a perimeter fence which protects it from intruders. And, well, we have more computers. It is better than it used to be and it needs to be improved,” said Oke Akombi.

Apart from on-site teaching in Buea and Limbe, the Centre has been able to teach English to the CDC rubber factory workers. It has taught French to personnel of Pamol Plantations in Lobe, Ndian Division.

The Centre has also been involved in the organisation of English Language Immersion Programme for Air Traffic Controllers from ASECNA Douala, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea since 2008.

In addition, it has taught English to bank personnel of SGBC Limbe, the staff of AES-SONEL in Ombe, Limbe and Buea, as well as training the staff of PNDP, National Social Insurance Fund, FEICOM and OIC.

The Centre has been running the English You Speak and Le Francais au Quotidien in collaboration with CRTV Buea parallelled with Cushion Your English on Mount Cameroon FM, Buea.

The Southwest Regional Linguistic Centre, Buea, was created in 1963 as a Federal Government structure to teach West Cameroonian Government officials the French language. A similar structure was created at Nlonkak in Yaounde to teach English to East Cameroonians.

However, the Nlonkak Centre closed down in 1986 when the project for the teaching of English to civil servants went operational. Meanwhile, Buea continued to thrive as a linguistic centre specialised in the teaching of French with Dr. Mosongo as its Director.

In 1990, a presidential decree, No. 90/196 of August 3 created the Bilingual Training Programme, whose mission, amongst others, include the teaching and promotion of the two official languages in Cameroon; French and English.

The centre has been run respectively by Patrice Ngantu, Mrs. Regina Bilong Nalova and Samson Oke Akombi.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01338

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