UCA facilitates French-learning in Kyzyl-Dobo, Naryn Oblast

Date: 25 March 2011

25 March 2011,   Kyzyl-Dobo village, Naryn Oblast, Kyrgyz Republic – The University of Central Asia (UCA)’s “French in the Villages” programme, a partnership with the Embassy of France to the Kyrgyz Republic, has opened a French Language Resource Centre in a school in Kyzyl-Dobo village, Naryn Oblast. This is one of the latest developments of the programme, which supports professional development for teachers, French classes, a summer camp, and the provision of French-learning materials.

This initiative is the result of a Partnership Agreement, signed in 2008, between the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and the French Government aimed to implement joint field development activities in agriculture and food security, financial services, infrastructure development, health, and promoting the use of the French language.

UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) is implementing language tuition providing contemporary French curriculum and teaching methods. This initiative has a dual mission of offering the latest French curriculum and teaching methods, and also trains guides and develops tourism in Naryn Oblast. For this project, SPCE draws on its experience teaching in villages and training of trainers.

In May 2010, 52 young people from a remote Kyzyl-Dobo village attended French lessons three times a week at the school in Kyzyl-Dobo. The school is one of few teaching French in the oblast and this programme has considerably reinforced its capacity and resources. Thirty one young learners attended a summer school in a yurt camp, where they were introduced to French culture, language, and traditions, by Suban Basylov and Ardak Kubatbekova, two local French teachers from Kyzyl-Dobo, and Claire Mercuriot, a native French speaker.

“Many of us want to visit Paris, a large and amazing city, but if you don’t know the language and culture, it is challenging. I hope to learn French, and master it before graduating. These days, if one can master languages, they can manage the world. We have a lot of French books in our class, and I will use them to improve my French,” said Elnura Talantbek kyzy, Class 7.

Through this initiative, the French Embassy also supported the professional development of two local French language teachers from the school in Kyzyl-Dobo. To ensure continuity and enrich learning, the Embassy has provided close to 100 books, over 200 textbooks, and training aids in French as well as technical equipment which are now available in the French Resource Centre.

“The purpose of the programme is to guide the language skills acquired by students towards tourism, since this activity will create jobs in the Naryn Oblast. The success of the programme prompted the French Embassy to continue our co-operation with UCA in 2011 and expand the programme. We will organise two more summer camps, award two teachers with an internship to France and launch the programme to Oi-Tersken village of Naryn Oblast,” said Pierre Ledys, Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy in Kyrgyzstan.