THE number of Malaysian school students learning French has tripled over the last decade.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said there are now about 15,000 students learning the language in 101 government secondary schools.
“In Malaysia, the number of learners of French is growing, demonstrating the popularity of the language among the students in government schools and universities,” she said when officiating the Francophonie Buffet last Friday.
Teo said this is due to the ministry investing in training local teachers to teach French.
She added that the ministry will continue supporting the teaching of the language by training more teachers.
“As we already speak at least English, Bahasa Malaysia and sometimes another Asian language, learning French is an asset for the students as it creates opportunities for them to study, travel and opens business opportunities in many countries,” she said.
Speaking at the same event, Embassy of France in Malaysia head of education department Nicolas Gouletquer thanked the Education Ministry for supporting the teaching of the language to Malaysian students.
“I have been posted to several countries and Malaysia has one of the highest standards of quality teaching of the French language in the world,” he added.
Mauritius Ambassador to Malaysia Issop Patel said: “French is, with English, the only language spoken on five continents.”
He added that the French language is “becoming the language of young people” with about 76% of French speakers being under the age of 30 by the year 2050.
French is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world with an estimated 300mil people speaking the language.
The event was organised by 14 embassies and high commissions including France, Belgium, Lebanon, Mauritius and Vietnam. - By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM