Why French for Jamaicans at Primary Schools as Africa and Europe go Francophone

While Jamaica is still on the fence as it relates to making Spanish our official Second Language (Deer, 2016, July 1), spare a thought for other languages, such as French (Mckenzie, 2016, March 26), as pointed out by confessed francophone in the form of Grade 9 Student of Westwood High School , Sandrene Mckenzie.


It is true that we’re closer to Spanish speaking counties such as Cuba, who now have now established commercial flights after years of US Embargo (Marsh & Oppmann, 2016, August 31), offering challenge to our Tourism sector and hence the need for our High School Graduates to learn Spanish. It would also put our University graduates in a better position into get jobs, as being multi-lingual and having skills such as coding (Deer, 2016, July 19) is an absolute must.

So add learning French to that language learning curriculum, as the French Embassy is slowly being re-established (Rowe, 2016, July 2) in Jamaica. They made their presence known with a reception that was held on the French rescue boat, Batral Dumont-d’Urville, docked at Kingston Wharf, Berth 5 and 6 earlier in June 2016.


Sandrene Mckenzie may be on to something as it relates to having French taught at the Primary School Level, as the language, which is spoken on all continents, is on the move.

Sandrene Mckenzie advocates French in Primary Schools – Why French set for an African Explosion

French, with some 220 million French speakers in 26 countries worldwide, is ranked sixth in the world (France Diplomatie, 2016), behind the following languages:

  1. Mandarin Chinese
  2. English
  3. Hindi
  4. Spanish
  5. Arabic

The distribution of Francophones (OIF, La langue française dans le monde, 2010) is also evenly spread across all the continents:

  • 39.87% of Europe
  • 36.03% of sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean
  • 15.28% of North Africa and the Middle East
  • 7.66% of the Americas and the Caribbean
  • 1.16% of Asia/Oceania

French is one of the most heavily creolized language in the world, with some 72 million so-called partial French speakers in 26 countries:

  • 45% of the Belgium population
  • 20% of the Switzerland and Luxembourg population

This means that in Europe, French beats out English with 61 million speakers and is gaining on the 100 million German speakers. Thanks to the rapid increase in the birth rate of the French, most likely due to their approach to parenting (Deer, 2016, July 2016), French will be the most widely spoken languages in Europe by 2025.


Interestingly French, which is spoken in Africa thanks to French colonization, is expected to rise to 700 million speakers by 2050, with 80% of French speakers being in that continent. Good to note that according to the UNDP (United Nations Population Division) Africa and India are expected to account for the majority of the 9.7 billion people in 2050 and to continue fuelling the world population towards 11.5 billion by 2100.

So as Africa grows, so will the French Language, which will account for 3% to 8% of global speakers, potentially making French the No. 3 language by 2050!

French in Primary Schools – Gearing up for a Francophone European Union and Africa

Sandrene Mckenzie of WestWood High further argues (Mckenzie, 2016, June 28) for the idea of teaching French at the Primary School level across Jamaica, thus making the language more established and creating future employment opportunities for future students as:

  • Translators
  • Interpreters
  • Business personnel
  • Modern-language teachers

The same needs to be done for Spanish and Mandarin as well, as waiting until the University level will not allow fluency to develope enough for Jamaica to declare literacy among its people in this other language. French is a language that I also love, being as I often have to read newspapers in French and African French to follow tech news in that country mainly from:

  • Ivory Coast
  • Gabon
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Algeria

The African Tech Scene is rapidly evolving Technology and will be a subject of further articles on my blog in the future.


Not to mention being able to enjoy L’Escargot, the reincarnation of Chef Neville Anderson, Aubergine in Salem, Runaway Bay (The Jamaica Observer, 2016, June 23), with a less confused face!


Ultimately, learning another language is about giving High School and University Students the option to work in Africa and elsewhere by 2050. This as thanks to developement of the African continent and the increasing number of French speakers in Europe, Africa may adopt African French as their official continental second Language, making them the largest country to do so by 2050.

So clearly, Sandrene Mckenzie was thinking of a distant future where Africa speaks mainly French to do business with an increasingly Francophone European Union. Making French language and cultures a part of our education would make France, Africa and the EU aware that we are ready for business, be it in English, Spanish, Mandarin or French.


  1. Deer, L. (2016, July 1). PM Andrew Holness says Spanish is Jamaica’s Second Language as UWI makes it compulsory. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/spanish-jamaica-second-language-uwi-compulsory/
  2. Deer, L. (2016, July 19). Why Coding in HTML and CSS3 and speaking Spanish needed in Jamaica. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/coding-html-css3-spanish/
  3. Deer, L. (2016, July 2016). Why French approach to ADHD points to Sugars and Food Additives. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/usa-france-adhd/
  4. France Diplomatie. (2016). The status of French in the world. Retrieved from http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/francophony/the-status-of-french-in-the-world/
  5. Marsh, R., Oppmann, P. (2016, August 31). US commercial flights take off for Cuba after more than half-century. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/30/politics/cuba-flights-commercial-security/
  6. Mckenzie, S. (2016, March 26). Teach French From Primary School. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/letters/20160326/teach-french-primary-school
  7. Rowe, P. (2016, July 2). French Embassy Announces Presence With Reception. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/entertainment/20160702/french-embassy-announces-presence-reception
  8. The Jamaica Observer. (2016, June 23). L’Escargot in Runaway Bay is Sublime. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/L-Escargot-in-Runaway-Bay-is-Sublime_64718
  9. Mckenzie, S. (2016, June 28). Teach French At Primary School. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/letters/20160628/teach-french-primary-school






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