Teachers learning: Attending a seminar on the honours degree in teaching French are (from right) Polo Lemphane, Kudakwashe Mahanya, (senior lecturer) Vanessa Everson, Sam-Hobbie Tembo, Jenette Reitsma, Salome Mutero, (lecturer) Sophie le Roux, Aimee Upshon and Sian Pierre.
The newly created master's by coursework for specialists in teaching French as a foreign language, offered by UCT's School of Languages and Literatures, is the first degree of its kind in Southern Africa.
The degree follows on the heels of its honours counterpart which was introduced in 2008, another first for the subcontinent.
"The degrees are aimed at training teachers," says course convenor Dr Vanessa Everson, "including both future teachers and those who have already entered the field but want to build their skills."
The degrees are the result of collaboration - both inter-institutional and inter-departmental. The University of Grenoble in France, which already has a similar programme, helped during course development and continues to assist with quality assurance. The French Embassy's Bureau for Co-operation and Cultural Action for French is providing bursaries and books, and students receive practical teacher training at Alliance Francaise.
Both degrees are also supported by collaboration with UCT's Departments of Linguistics and English Language and Literature, and the Centre for Educational Technology.
"It's also resulted in African collaboration," notes Everson. "Master's students are now working on a programme to bring French studies to high schools in Lesotho, and we are assisting the University of Kenya to establish a similar programme."
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