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Tunisia, Morocco decide to reject ‘colonial’ French in favour of English

Tunisian activists have launched a campaign to demand that French is renounced as the second language in the country and replaced with English.

Activists who launched the Hashtag #NotoFrenchyestoEnglish believe English is more widely used in science, technological development and research. The campaign was launched in Morocco in March before moving to Tunisia.

Former Tunisian Minister of Education, Neji Jalloul, had previously said he was seeking to add English as well as Portuguese and Chinese as subjects in the third year of primary school without giving up French. In a press conference in 2016, he explained that his goal was to support Arabic, French, and English.

Jalloul did not do this and the grassroots campaign was born. As part of it, a video has been circulated in which a young girl calls for the English language to be integrated into the public school system before the age of 15.

Algerian Twitter users have joined the campaign, stressing the necessity to give greater importance to the English language in their school system as a way to combat the residue of French colonialism.

This is not the first time Algerians have launched such campaigns on social media. In July 2017 a large number of activists demanded that all official documents in the country be issued in Arabic.

This came after the Board of Directors of Algiers Post announced that it had decided to abandon French in all official documents.

According to a study conducted by the French Language Observatory in 2010, Algeria is the third largest French speaking country in the world after France and the Congo.

The Education First English Proficiency Index, which ranks the countries of the world according to their proficiency in the English language, has published a list of 80 non-English speaking countries based on standardised English tests that were conducted for more than 1 million people worldwide.

Tunisia ranks 56th and first in the Arab world, according to the study, which was published in the French edition of HuffPost. The United Arab Emirates is 57th, Morocco 60th, Jordan 63rd, Egypt 66th and Saudi Arabia 72nd. Algeria ranks 76th.

TunisianMonitorOnline (MEMO)

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