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Gabon Students Start Year with Increased Focus on English


Some students in Gabon will begin learning English as well as French this year. (Amr Dalsh/Reuters)
Gabon President Ali Bongo announced that as students return to school this fall, English classes will play a far more prominent role in their education. According to Bongo’s spokersperson, Gabon will stay a francophone (French-speaking country), but they will also join the Commonwealth of English-speaking countries.

“English is going to be taught in the premier level grades to younger children,” said the President’s spokesperson, Alain Claude Bilie By Nze.

According to Bilie By Nze, English is already taught in high school and at the university level, but the new initiative will help Gabonese students learn earlier, and make resources available for adult professionals.

“The adults who want to learn English should be able to. English will be taught at grade school level from 2012 on.”

The spokesman called it both an educational and scientific decision. He added that “Gabon does not want to totally leave French.”

He also stressed the fact that many Gabonese business professionals work in countries, where the first international language is English.

“Most of Gabonese who work in business right now… work in the Mist East, Dubai, China and elsewhere. They need English to do business.”

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