NCPBM primed for re-evaluating the implementation of bilingualism in ministries.

by Fonban Emmanuel

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The National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism abbreviated as NCPBM on Monday, 17 August 2020 held a preparatory meeting of the evaluation mission on the effective implementation of the policy on the promotion of the official languages in ministerial departments.

The meeting was a virtual conference chaired by the President of the commission, Peter Mafany Musonge, and present were the Secretary-General of the Commission Dr. Asafor Chi Cornelius and the Vice President of the Commission, Oumarou Djika. The other members of the commission took part in the meeting from their various locations as they connected remotely through zoom.

As part of their objectives, the meeting was aimed at getting grounds ready to begin their missionary task which is to ensure the equal use of English and French in government’s institutions as well as other private institutions.

It should be noted that on the 24 December 2019, the law on the promotion of official languages in Cameroon was promulgated due to the overused of French language in public institutions where bilingualism is supposed to prevailed.

 During this meeting, the commission also revisited other issues which could erode efforts made in bonding Cameroonians together. Hate speech, which has become the order of the day especially on social media featured among the sub issues discussed during this meeting.

However, it is worth mentioning that Cameroon is where it has found itself because of cultural differences which have been reflected through the use of English and French. It is for this reason that NCPBM was born with the intention of forming a cultural bridge which could help in crossing Cameroonians from different cultures to a harmonious ground in the same spirit of patriotism. The commission is tasked to do this by promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism at all levels as well as helping an advisory body for the government of Cameroon on how to ride with bilingualism and multiculturism.

The promulgation of the law on bilingualism remains a “no signal” to some public officials, especially in the government. Some public officials continue to go about their businesses without considering bilingualism whereas they have at their disposal, translation facilities. The consequences are cultivating cultural and linguistic differences which makes others feel inferior in a country that should be theirs. The sum of all these places a heavy burden on the Musonge commission which brings too much resistance to their commitments.

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