The socio-economic value of French language education in Lesotho: The learners’ voices
The introduction of a foreign language, especially one whose native country holds an esteemed position in the global economy, promises to be an instrumental tool in promoting individual, national and socio-economic development. In 2009, the Ministry of Education and Training in Lesotho therefore opted to reintroduce French as a foreign language in secondary schools after it had waned since its first introduction in schools in 1868. As the government forges on with this educational undertaking, it becomes necessary to evaluate various stakeholders’ attitudes on the value of French as a school subject in an effort to establish whether their views correlate with politicians’ aspirations or not. The study adopts a quantitative and qualitative approach in which a questionnaire is administered among secondary school learners where the French project has so far been piloted by the government, as opposed to where it has not been piloted. The findings show that the majority of participants, including those that have not studied French, generally embrace multilingualism with French as one of the languages that should be developed together with Sesotho and English in Lesotho. French is viewed as having the potential to open doors for further education and job opportunities. This makes it necessary for the Lesotho government to extend the teaching of French.