BY LUKE DOUGLAS Career & Education staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THREE local candidates have achieved passes at the highest level of the French language examinations used for matriculation to any university in France or French-speaking countries.
Jamaicans Devon Yetman and Hanif Miller and Trinidadian Shameel Khan were successful at the C2 level in the French language diploma exams (DELF/DALF), written in June this year at the Alliance Française de la Jamaïque in St Andrew.
They were among 103 students who achieved certificates at one of the six levels of proficiency, with C2 being the highest and A1 the beginner's level.
"We had this year 121 candidates in Jamaica, same as last year, but 103 graduated better than last year," said executive director of the Alliance Française Amandine Poret.
In encouraging more persons to take lessons, she stressed the importance to learning foreign languages in a globalised world.
"There are French-speaking countries in the five continents of the world. Everywhere you travel there are French business persons of influence.So for personal and professional development, it is important to learn French and other languages because they open doors of opportunities for all people," noted Poret.
New president of the Alliance, Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, agreed.
"The French language is alive and well. There are 32 countries where French is the official language and over 70 countries speak French. But besides the language, the beauty and sophistication of the French culture is something that you appreciate when you learn the language," said Tulloch-Reid, who learned to speak French in his 20s as a student in Montreal, Canada.
Classes at all levels begin in January in preparation for the June exams which are based on European Framework of Reference for Languages and test skills of oral and written expression and comprehension.
Poret said approximately 90 of the students were adults, but children are welcome too.
"We teach French to everyone and it's never too late to learn a language. We have one student who is 90 years old," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Among the successful students was Annekah Mason, a 25-year-old first-year law student who already has a degree in Spanish and international relations.
"It's always good to have more than one language and I always liked French, but my high school never offered it," said Mason, who attained a certificate at the B1 level, which is the third of the six levels.
An employee of the Mexican Embassy, Mason has had classes at the Alliance twice per week for the last two years. She said her knowledge of languages has been to her advantage in many instances and encourages more Jamaicans to study languages.
"With dedication anyone can learn," she said.