Being a French teacher means being part of a community of more than 900,000 professionals worldwide. From (almost) all ages and nationalities, there is no typical French teacher as they work in different countries, cultures and educational systems. However, they all share the same vocation, and through the French language protect a developing French-speaking culture.
The geography of French teaching
Today 51 million people around the world are learning French. There are also 81 million taking a course in French. 45% of these French language learners are in North Africa and the Middle East, where the French language is part of everyday life and alongside English maintains the status of an international language, mastery of which is particularly valued in business and in the academic world.
Further south, a veritable French-speaking reservoir is expanding rapidly. In 13 sub-Saharan African countries – including Senegal, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo – French has remained the language of instruction. This is the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there are no less than 19 million pupils or students schooled in French. A record.
Alongside these flagship countries, French shares the status of the main language of instruction in five other African states (Cameroon, Madagascar, Mauritius etc.). However, it is in English-speaking countries – Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria – and the Portuguese-speaking country of Mozambique where French is taught as a foreign language, that there has been the greatest increase in learners (+126% FFL staff between 2014 and 2018).
By 2050, Africa will be the premier French-speaking destination in the world.
French teachers brought together in associations
The FFL teaching mission is primarily carried out by the teaching teams and teachers of the various national education systems. A vocational profession, many associations of French teachers have been created locally, and most are affiliated with the International Federation of French Teachers (FIPF) which represents the profession at a global level.
This year the FIPF is organising the first edition of French Teachers’ Day, an event designed to promote a profession often considered difficult due to the lack of recognition, the low level of salaries and busy schedules, but which is also undergoing rapid change, in particular through digital technology.
Intended to update the status of the French teaching profession, "Innovation and Creativity" was chosen as the programme theme for this first Teachers’ Day, which will bring together over 120 round tables, videoconferences and events around the world. Students from Cartagena, Spain, will be invited to describe their ideal French teacher, while the Institut français in Tunis will receive 120 teachers for a welcome day, and a new Qatar Association of French Teachers will be created in Doha. All these events will make the French language and its teachings resonate around the world.
The Institut français is partner of the Jour du prof de français which is part of the programme « Une ambition pour la langue française et le plurilinguisme » ("An ambition for french language and plurilingualism") initiated by president Emmanuel Macron.
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