The Executive Secretary of ACALAN, Professor Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe, has advocated for an ECOWAS Prize of Excellence in the Fulfulde, Hausa and Mandenkan Vehicular Cross-Border Languages, in West Africa, as well as for a closer link between Culture and Education, before ECOWAS experts of culture in Bamako.
The Executive Secretary of ACALAN, Professor Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe, made two presentations at the Technical Committee Meeting of Culture Experts of the ECOWAS member States, held in Bamako, between the 20th and 23rd July 2010.
At the opening ceremony, he thanked ECOWAS for supporting ACALAN’s programme of activities “which has resulted in a fruitful partnership”. He emphasized the importance of culture and language vis-à-vis African integration and development in relation to ACALAN’s mandate – the development and promotion of the use of African languages in all socio-economic spheres. He took the opportunity to urge ECOWAS member states to ratify the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.
On the first day, the Executive Secretary made a presentation on the existing ECOWAS Prize of Excellence for French and English, which, he argued should be extended to Fulfulde, Hausa and Mandenkan Vehicular Cross-Border Languages. By doing so, the prize would contribute to implementing ACALAN’s mandate as well as the ECOWAS’ Cultural Development Programme, and would consequently lead to the production of reading materials in these languages, which accordingly would help generate the culture of reading, and subsequently add financial value to these languages.
On the second day of the workshop, the Executive Secretary made a presentation on the Linkage between Culture and Education. His presentation was made in the context of ACALAN’s mandate vis-à-vis the implementation of the Khartoum Decision on the link between Culture and Education; the second decade of education in Africa and the African Cultural Renaissance Campaign.
He expressed the view that, for the African educational system to be meaningful and contribute towards bringing about sustainable development that would change the lives of Africans for the better, there should be a link between culture and education, a mother tongue/multilingual based education, and the rebuilding of the African Education systems so that the curriculum is informed by and based on African culture.
As recommendations the Executive Secretary of ACALAN asked the Culture Experts of ECOWAS members states to urge their respective governments to adopt and or ratify the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance. He requested the inclusion of information on African languages spoken in each member state with special reference to the Vehicular Cross-Border languages in ECOWAS’ cultural website. He further recommended that, as part and parcel of the efforts to implement the Khartoum Decision on the linkage between culture and education, schools, on ECOWAS’ day commemoration in each member state, should devote their teachings to cultural activities such as marriage systems, funeral rituals, attires, naming systems, etc. ECOWAS and ACALAN should call a meeting of experts to gauge the level of integration of culture into the curriculum.
Finally the Executive Secretary recommended for the formation of a body of eminent personalities, ambassadors and patrons for African languages in the same way they exist for culture.