USIA and English Language Teacher Training Support in
Sub-Saharan Africa

USIA's English language programs in Sub-Saharan Africa are supported through the office of the Regional English Language Officer in Dakar, Senegal and through the office of the Regional English Language Officer in Pretoria, South Africa. EFL professionals throughout the region are committed to improving both the quality of English teaching and the training of English teachers. There is also a high interest in American English in the region and, as a result, a growing demand for information about current American teaching methods, U.S. culture and institutions, and American English materials. The current RELO in Dakar is Robert Lindsey. The current RELO in Pretoria is Dee Parker.

There are English Teaching Fellows throughout Africa. Kristen Danek is at the University of Namibia in Windhoek, Namibia. Janet Newman is at the Institute for Curriculum Development and Research in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Eran Williams is at the Central Bank of Guinea Foreign Affairs Ministry in Conakry, Guinea. Shelly Berkowitz is at A. Moumouni Dioffo University School of Mining in Niamey, Niger. Lisa Williams is at Instituto Superior de Ciencias da Educacao in Luanda, Angola. Sara Denne-Bolton is at the National University of Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda. William Adams is at the Catholic University of Mozambique in Beira, Mozambique. Susan Jones is at Educational Service Support Trust in Capetown, South Africa.

English Teaching Fellow Assists English Department at Catholic University in Beira, Mozambique

English Teaching Fellow (ETF) Rob Adams recently completed his work at the Catholic University in Beira, Central Mozambique. He assisted the University in drafting a more formal English teaching curriculum, in giving incoming students English proficiency tests and grouping them accordingly, in instituting a weekly English Language Working Group among University students, and in holding professional in-service development sessions with University English faculty. In addition, his contribution to the use of computers and the Internet in English teaching at the University was especially appreciated. During his tenure there, Mr. Adams also coordinated work with other educational organizations, NGOs, government offices, and USIS Maputo. Finally, Mr. Adams served as USIS' organizer in Beira to work with Pedagogic University's English Department on EFL Specialist John Hedgock's three-week program in May.

Academic Specialist Assists Key Institutions in Mozambique

Academic specialist Dr. John Hedgcock, from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, conducted six weeks of in-service English teacher training programs in three key cities in Mozambique during May and June. In addition to his sessions in Beira, Nampula and Maputo, Dr. Hedgcock also met with top personnel in the Ministry of Education and with the the U.S. Peace Corps country director.

Niamey English Teaching Program (ETP) Hosts Workshops for Area English Teachers

The USIS Niamey English Language Program recently hosted a series of four workshops for Niamey high school and junior high school English teachers. These May and June workshops featured demonstration classes to show how a teacher can use communicative teaching techniques in a large class with few resources. A committee of five facilitators, including the program’s director of courses (DOC) Benson, three ETP teachers and English Teaching Fellow (ETF) Shelly Berkowitz, organized and led the four workshops. The workshops were part of an effort to address the disparity of means between the ETP and English teaching in Niamey’s secondary schools. The audience of 140 secondary teachers (including 15 teacher advisors) was given an opportunity to begin thinking about how they might rework their classes to focus more on student language production within the current constraints (of 75-student classes with few or no books, etc.) Feedback tended to be positive although teachers were quick to point out their difficult teaching circumstances. They were particularly impressed that all the demonstration classes were conducted entirely in English. USIS was pleased with the support received from the four teaching inspectors, one of whom phoned all of his schools to tell them that the workshops were mandatory. The workshops provided an excellent opportunity for the three ETP teachers (one of whom is an English teaching advisor at the Ministry of Education), to improve their skills facilitating teacher training workshops.

Prime Minister Speaks at Niamey ETP Graduation Ceremony

On June 30 ETP student and Prime Minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, served as the keynote speaker at the ETP’s end-of-year certificate ceremony. The ceremony, attended by 300 ETP students, was covered the following day on the national television’s evening news program and in two independent newspapers. The Prime Minister spoke in English about the importance of continuing education, in this case the acquisition of the English language, and the role that it can play in the overall development of the country. He emphasized that he himself is an ETP student and told the audience that he was speaking as one of their peers, as a fellow student. His motivating words were warmly welcomed by the students.

Positive Changes Result from West African Seminar Series

In April a series of three teacher development workshops featuring English language specialist Dr. John Rassias of Dartmouth College were held in Dakar, Lome and Ouagadougou, reaching over 150 high level university and ministry contacts, teacher trainers and the majority of teachers working in USIS Direct English Teaching Programs in the area. The workshops focused on American culture and teacher development. All posts that participated in the Rassias seminars described significant changes in the way teachers approached their work after the program. Teachers in turn reported very positive reactions from their students and a more democratic and productive learning environment.

New Developments in EFL Professional Associations in Senegal

Recently the Regional English Language Officer (RELO) in West Africa, Robert Lindsey, has given material support and advice to many English clubs on the occasion of their annual CULTURAL or ENGLISH DAYS. The RELO's consultations with the Association of Teachers of English in Senegal (ATES) have resulted in a new draft charter, clarification of the association's goals and a renewed commitment on the part of the executive board to revitalizing the association. In addition, ATES is moving towards affiliation with US-based groups. And finally, the RELO's work with SAFT (the Senegalese Association of Fulbright Teachers) has resulted in educational reform and the creation of a National Association of English Clubs to coordinate the activities, relations and resources of these groups on a national level.

TEFL Workshop at USIS Conakry: Teaching English Using MOBEL

In June USIS Conakry hosted a workshop for teacher-trainers of English to orient them to MOBEL - "My Own Book of the English Language'. MOBEL, Guinea's secondary school English language teaching book, is unique in that it has been designed primarily by and entirely for Guineans. Initially a joint venture with Peace Corps volunteer teachers of English, MOBEL serves as curriculum, teacher's manual, and student textbook. Workshop participants included teacher-trainers from INRAP (the teacher-training/inspection unit of the Ministry of Pre-University Education), who took the lead in designing the various activities, and teacher-trainers from ISSEG (the teacher-training college). The workshop was reported on in the June 23 edition of the independent weekly "LA LANCE'.

Graduation Ceremony at USIS Chad's Revived American Language Center (ALC)

On July 16 USIS Chad's newly revived Direct English Teaching Program held a graduation ceremony which brought together about 500 participants including the 158 graduating students and their family members as well as Chadian officials and diplomats at post in N'Djamena. The ceremony, the first such one organized by the ALC, received wide media coverage. After songs and dances, everything culminated with speeches by the USIS Public Affairs Officer and others and the distribution of certificates to the successful students, most of whom are high-ranking government officials, parliamentarians, lawyers and employees from international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, etc.

USIS Kinshasa EFL Seminar Influences How English Taught in The Democratic Republic of The Congo

On June 11-12 The Congo American Language Institute (CALI) held a two-day teacher training seminar for secondary EFL teachers, focusing on the role that communicative competence plays in the secondary EFL classroom. Participants included a representative from the vice-ministry of secondary education, a national inspector of English teaching, and two officials from CEREDIP (CENTER FOR PEDAGOGIC RSEARCH). The dialogue between the national inspector and participants was so useful that the teachers were invited to offer suggestions on how to revise the existing state English examination for graduating secondary students. The entire seminar was videotaped, and excerpts will be broadcast on an English program on the national Congolese radio and television station. Participants particularly valued the interaction with inspectors and officials from the Ministry of Education. The representative from the vice-ministry, the national inspector and the two representatives from CEREDIP stated that they would maintain contact with CALI to see how it could provide assistance in implementing innovative EFL teaching methodologies in secondary EFL classrooms.

RELO Dakar Works Toward Strengthening English Teacher Associations and English Clubs in West Africa

A healthy active volunteer national teachers association is probably the single most important factor in providing ongoing professional development, information dissemination, international exchanges, professional pride, and bottom-up educational reform. American society provides a rich model of all that such associations can accomplish. RELO Dakar is currently working with the Association OF Teachers of English of Senegal (ATES) to help strengthen it organizationally and to network with similar U.S. TESOL affiliates and will be initiating similar efforts in other countries in the region in the near future.

In addition, RELO Dakar is involved in similar organizational strengthening activities with the over 40 English clubs in Senegal, nearly all of which are directly connected to a secondary school. As with teacher associations, club members are "self-selected: "students who want to improve their English and their knowledge about America and the world at large. English clubs organize and celebrate "English Days" all over Senegal in the month of May each year. These programs feature original dramatic sketches on such themes as peace, AIDS awareness, and equal rights for women; songs in English, poetry readings in English, and debates and presentations. The RELO is working on the establishment of a national association of English clubs, which could be a special interest section of the national teachers association. The goal is to create an entity that can coordinate club activities, solicit, manage and distribute resources from USIS and other donors, disseminate information and organize occasions where English clubs can share ideas.

USIS and Peace Corps Collaborate on English Language Training in Madagascar

USIS Antananarivo English Teaching Program Director John Corrao participated in the most recent Peace Corps in-service training. Corrao led a session with Peace Corps volunteers (PCV’s) on USIS’s experience in promoting English teaching entrepreneurs during the recent NET project (Networking for English Teaching) and also discussed possible ways for PCV’s to promote the use of English in Madagascar. As a result of Corrao’s visit, several PCV’s will begin broadcasting the “Tuning in the USA” series on local radio in their regions. This exercise has opened the door to closer USIS-Peace Corps collaboration in the future.

Direct English Teaching Program in Burkina Faso Reaches Key Government Officials

Government officials in Burkina Faso are taking advantage of partial tuition wavers at the USIS English Teaching Program (ETP) in Ouagadougou and are enrolling in English courses there. Two members of the National Assembly and 17 officials from nine Ministries are among the recipients of partial tuition wavers at the ETP. Other recipients of partial tuition wavers include journalists, members of NGOs, and other influential professionals from Ouagadougou. The program, while training the participants to learn and use English, also provides them with exposure to Americans and their culture and ideas.

Malian Ministry of Education Hosts USIS-Sponsored English Teaching Workshop

On February 1 - 5, USIS Bamako sponsored an English teaching workshop at a Malian Ministry of Education (MOE) training facility for 35 teachers and teacher trainers in the Timbuktu Region. The purpose of the workshop, which featured RELO Robert Lindsay, was to provide participants with an update on ELT methodologies and encourage their use of American studies as content for their courses. Two days of the workshop were spent in instructional sessions with Lindsay, and the remainder of the workshop consisted of a session on materials development, where participants worked directly with Paul Diakite, the General Inspector of English, to develop new materials for their classes. The weeklong workshop, organized annually by USIS and the MOE, is the only in-service training regularly available to English teachers in Mali. The workshop is held in a different regional capital each year, in theory making in-service training available to each of Mali's roughly 500 English teachers once every eight years.

Direct English Teaching Program in Burkina Faso Adds American Cultural Events to Classroom Curriculum

USIS Ouagadougou has added a new program to its classroom curriculum. All teachers were asked to plan at least one American cultural event for their class. They were asked to focus on an aspect of American culture and incorporate that theme into an activity which would bring American culture alive to Direct English Teaching Program (DETP) students while at the same time help them to improve their English language skills. Some of the topics chosen to inaugurate this program were: Champion of Civil Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr.,; the Civil Rights Movement and Malcolm X; Ethnic Diversity in the U.S.; The American Educational System; Black American History; Overview of the White House and American Government; American Film and Media; Immigration and Development; American Theater; the Impact of American Television; and Male and Female Roles in American Society. Teachers used video cassettes, audio cassettes, selected texts, and other materials in teaching on these themes.

RELO Organizes Internet Orientation for Senegalese Educators

On January 15, RELO Robert Lindsay and USIS Dakar organized a half-day interactive orientation to the Internet for approximately 40 Senegalese Ministry of Education officials, school administrators, teacher trainers, and classroom teachers. The program featured a power point introduction to the history and major components of the Internet(search engines, worldwide web, navigators, email and listservs), online visits to key sites in English teaching and education (through E-Bureau and E/AL web sites); and presentations from Senegalese teachers and an American Fulbright Exchange teacher on their experiences of Internet in education in Senegal and the United States.

Prime Minister Among Students in Successful English Teaching Program in Niger

The English Teaching Program (ETP) in Niger is having continued success training influential members of Nigerien society. Niger's Prime Minister, Mr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki, continues to participate in weekly classes at the ETP. Mr. Mayaki's English has improved greatly since he started his classes a year and a half ago. In his most recent classes, he prepared for an Asian-African Development conference being held this week in Japan. In addition, USIS has offered partial scholarships to 21 Nigeriens including the General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the head of the Nigerien Human Rights Association, journalists, members of the Association of Women Lawyers, and members of the Nigerien Union of Independent Lawyers. The recent opening of three new classrooms, and the participation of Ambassador Cecil at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, is more evidence of the success of the Nigerien ETP. The ETP has announced that this year their enrollment is up 120 students over last year.

RELO Visit to Mozambique Produces Tangible Results

RELO Dee Parker visited English teaching resource centers, universities and media outlets in Beira, Nampula, and Maputo, serving as a consultant for English language teaching programs in Mozambique. As a result, USIS Maputo is planning to inaugurate a teaching program broadcast on the radio, and to invite an academic specialist to come to Mozambique towards the end of the 1999 spring term. The demand for English teaching products and curricular assistance is growing fast in the central and northern regions with new English programs at universities in Beira and Nampula.

Ambassador to Niger Speaks at Inauguration of New ETP Classrooms

On September 29, Ambassador Charles O. Cecil spoke to 100 students, teachers and heads of local businesses and organizations at the inauguration of three new English Teaching Program (ETP) classrooms/open house. Ambassador Cecil talked about the importance of English for success in the global forum. The new classrooms were paid for out of ETP tuition money. The ceremony was designed to take advantage of the ribbon-cutting of our new classrooms to have an open house to draw new businesses and organizations interested in sending their employees for English classes. The audience was impressed with the ETP facilities and by Ambassador Cecil's words stressing the importance of learning English as a tool for Niger's success in international trade, diplomacy and the exchange of scientific and technological information. Since the open house, eight new businesses and organizations have sent their employees to the ETP for English lessons, adding 41 students to the enrollment. This trimester (lst quarter fy99) the ETP in Niger has its largest enrollment in its history, at 480 students.

Malagasy Government Officials and Private Sector Leaders Begin Three Years of English Language Training

The English Teaching Program (ETP) at USIS Antananarivo has launched a three-year $605,000 agreement signed on August 28, 1998 with USAID Madagascar to provide English language training for AID's Malagasy Government and private sector partners. The staff members of the government of Madagascar's institutions and the private sector are finding they must speak English with greater frequency and fluency. The 1024 participants in the program, who will be from from twelve targeted institutions, include magistrates, members of the Bar Association, journalists, public finance accountants, employees of the national savings and loan institution, members of Parliament, and staff from the Ministries of Health and Economy. Fluency in English will allow access to training opportunities and information exchanges for Malagasy leaders in all country plan areas: promoting good governance and human rights; protecting biodiversity and supporting environmental initiatives; and building a sustainable economy.

Wife of the President, Cabinet Members Among Alumni of USIS Dakar English Language Program

Graduates of the USIS American English Language Program (AELP) in Senegal include cabinet members, ambassadors, members of parliament, high military officials, prominent business and trade representatives, officials of international organizations, professors, journalists and Mrs. Abdou Diouf, the wife of the president of Senegal. Because most of the 24-member teaching staff of the AELP have studied and worked in the United States on various USIA programs, their teaching of English includes a strong experience-based focus on American culture, society, values, and policy. Thus, the USIS AELP program's long-range impact on the knowledge, communication skills, and attitudes of its participants is unparalleled, and the program has affected a wide and diverse audience of influential members of Senegalese society.

Direct English Teaching Program in Madagascar Establishes American Studies Program

As a result of USIS Antananarivo English teachers attending U.S. studies and Franco/Lusophone institutes over the past three years, the USIS English Teaching Program (ETP) has created U.S. Studies-based English courses designed to reach a " next generation" audience of university graduates. Although students in these courses will work for the same certificates as students in the regular classes, a variety of audio, video, and reading materials will focus on contemporary lifestyles and issues in the United States. The new courses will be offered during business hours so as to accommodate these non-company-sponsored students while not reducing the number of classes for working people. Use of the available materials will also allow the ETP to integrate U.S. Studies into currently existing company-sponsored and contract classes.

Burkina Faso English Teaching Program (ETP) Holds Debates on Democracy

Two films on democracy--Government by Consent: First Amendment Freedoms and Affirmative Action vs Discrimination generated lively discussions among the civil servants, journalists and business leaders in the USIS Ouagadougou ETP intermediate and advanced classes. Debates focused on the status of these rights in Burkina Faso and racial and minority issues in the United States.

EL Specialist Consults in South Africa on Teacher Education

ET specialist Donald Freeman (E/AL) participated in the conference "International Trends in Teacher Education" at the University of Durban-Westville and held consultation sessions with professionals and researchers from English Departments and Teacher Education programs at several other tertiary educational institutions. He also worked with English language educators to create the idea of development entrepreneurship in education and human services. This effort will link academics with NGOs and schools for the purpose of pursuing research and development needs.

EL Specialist from School of International Training (Vermont) Finalizes Certificate Program in South Africa

EL specialist Kathleen Graves (E/AL), a well-known English course and materials developer from the School of International Training (SIT), worked with the Center for Continuing Education at University of Port Elizabeth to finalize plans for the SIT Certificate Program. She also presented seminars and workshops for teacher educators at universities and worked with three principal universities on linkage opportunities with NGOs on the development and needs of the institutions

New Initiatives Enhance English Teaching Program in Togo

Based upon recommendations by RELO Melvia Hasman, the English Teaching Program (ETP) in Lome, Togo recently introduced three components to enhance its program: guest speakers, American culture, and open conversation. Guest speakers, which have included US Embassy Officers, have addressed such issues as youth violence, racial problems, the U.S. educational system, religion in the US, and American policy towards democracy in Africa. Using USIA-produced English language materials, the American cultural content has emphasized American government and history themes. Conversation activities have generated debates on the environment, sports and economics. These changes have enabled the ELP learners to use English as a vehicle to explore important topics which have significantly increased Togolese understanding of American life and values.

USIS Assists Curriculum Development in Rwanda

Rwandan educational institutions are redesigning curricula to reflect national priorities, and one of the highest priorities is the teaching of English at all levels of education. Rwandans firmly believe that progress toward building a democratic society is closely connected with acquisition of competence in English. The United States Information Service (USIS) post in Kigali, Rwanda invited Regional English Language Officer Dee Parker to visit July 12-17. Parker consulted with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, the rector of the National University of Rwanda, the department chair of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, and the chief of staff of the National Assembly. As a result of these discussions, post will continue to collaborate on a project that uses US AID funding and USIS expertise to recruit an American specialist to assess curricula and train local teachers.

U.S. Ambassadors Address English Language Students

Ambassador to Benin John Yates and Ambassador to Niger Charles O. Cecil were the featured speakers during recent ceremonies at USIS language centers in Cotonou and Niamey. Each event garnered coverage by their respective national media.

In Cotonou, Ambassador Yates addressed 123 students at the American Language Center's annual awards ceremony. He praised them for their perseverance, noting the growing globalization of English and the importance of knowing how to communicate effectively in English. One of the students was Dr. Alexis Hountondji, a member of the Constitutional Court of Benin, who successfully completed one academic year of English studies and was singled out for recognition by his teacher. A lengthy report about the ceremony on the evening news, as well as articles in the print media, provided excellent publicity for both the ALC and the USIS American Cultural Center.

In Niamey, Ambassador Cecil addressed 250 students during USIS' English Language Program end-of-year certificate ceremony. He discussed investigative journalism in the U.S. and the role of the press in civil society. Niger's national television station, as well as an independent newspaper, covered the event, providing an even greater audience for the ambassador's remarks.

English Classes for the Hearing Impaired

The Congo American Language Institute (CALI) in Kinshasa, one of USIA's direct teaching programs, is offering an advanced-level English conversation course for the hearing impaired. The course was initiated as a result of student interest in the United States and American Sign Language, and it teaches American history, geography, civics, and culture. Hearing students also can attend, so lessons are presented in spoken and written English, as well as ASL. This advanced course has become extremely popular and is getting attention from the media in Kinshasa. A local radio and TV station recently broadcast a report about the hearing impaired students after they performed at the last CALI graduation ceremony.

"Outcomes" in Education Sought in South Africa

The Ministry of Education has adopted the outcomes-based approach to education (OBE) as the structure for its national transformation process, popularly known as "Curriculum 2005." To help parents and the educational community better understand this new paradigm, American educator William Spady -- a leading authority on OBE -- visited South Africa last fall under the auspices of USIS and the Agency for International Development. Dr. Spady is director of Breakthrough Learning Systems, located in Colorado, and is a popular speaker on organizational change, transformational leadership, and strategic planning. His many publications include the 1994 book Outcome-Based Education: Critical Issues and Answers. Dr. Spady's visit to South Africa was a direct result of his presentation earlier at the South African Summer English Teaching Institute, held annually at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Forty-five teacher trainers from South Africa and Namibia attended the institute in 1997 and upon their return, attempted to clarify the concept of OBE to the widest possible audience. During his four-week  tour throughout South Africa,  Dr. Spady reached an audience of 4,000 government education ministers, school administrators, teacher trainers, and parents.

RELO Provides Prizes for Events at Fulbright Cultural Days

RELO Melvia Hasman provided prizes for competitive English club events at the second annual Fulbright Cultural Days held June 6 and 7 in Mbour. Representatives from twenty Senegalese English clubs took part, plus 40 English teachers, the director of secondary education in Senegal, and the prefect of Mbour (a former IV grantee who supports efforts to incorporate American English teaching methods and American studies into the city’s schools). The national “Sud Quotidien” newspaper quoted from the opening remarks made by CAO Grace Brunton and also carried an interview with Ibrahima Seck, president of the Senegalese Association of Fulbright Teachers.

Kinshasa English Program "Right on Target"

Despite political turmoil of historic proportions, cancellation of contracts, and the evacuation of the director of courses, the Congo American Language Institute (CALI) in Kinshasa has continued to grow and prosper. Enrollment and income have doubled, and the institute is now completely self-sufficient -- paying full rent, overhead, and teachers' salaries. Described by former Ambassador Daniel H. Simpson as a "jewel" in USIS's crown, CALI continues to play a crucial role in helping the post achieve its country plan goals. Pretoria Regional English Language Officer Dee Parker visited Kinshasa June 16-23 to evaluate the overall program at CALI and the effectiveness of specific courses and teachers. Parker's visit was in response to a direct request from the post, as Kinshasa is not part of her territory for regular visits. She apprised CALI staff members of developments in the EFL field and consulted with them on ways to strengthen the existing atmosphere of positive communication under the leadership of incoming director of courses, Liza Martinez.

Fulbright Lecturer Assists Burkina Faso with Curriculum Reform

Before finishing her Fulbright year as a lecturer in Senegal, Kathryn Weed traveled to Burkina Faso to consult with members of the English Department at the University of Ouagadougou. University officials had approached USIS requesting assistance in reforming the school's English teaching curriculum. The USIS office in Ouagadougou agreed to provide help both to improve language teaching at the university and to encourage the use of American cultural content in its English program. They sought funding assistance from the English Language Programs Division to cover Dr. Weed's airfare. The university hosted Dr. Weed in its guest house for most of her stay. Dr. Weed's positive and practical advice resulted in a concrete timetable for implementing changes to the university's English teaching curriculum.

Ethiopian Teachers and Journalists Look at the American Media

U.S. Ambassador David Shinn opened the second annual American studies seminar sponsored by USIA and the Institute of Language Studies of Addis Ababa University, held this year on April 30 in the university's auditorium. The theme of the event was "The Media in the Democratic Process: The American Experience." The keynote speaker was Michael Real, dean of the School of Communication at San Diego State University. Dr. Real's address was entitled "Whom Does the U.S. Media Serve?" Also addressing the audience of 50 Ethiopian teachers and journalists was USIA Regional English Language Officer Melvia Hasman, who spoke about the media's influence on foreign policy. The day-long program included a documentary chronicling the history of the free press in the United States and a roundtable discussion of media issues. During his USIA-sponsored visit to Ethiopia, Michael Real also met with journalism students at Addis Ababa University and conducted a workshop for journalists attending the government-run Mass Media Training Institute.

Senegal Expands Exposure and Expectations of English Learners

Use of the English language has been growing rapidly in Senegal since the early 1990s. English is used in everyday commerce in all social classes among professionals. There are three private institutions in Dakar that offer English classes, including the USIS American English Language Program, and about 200 English clubs where learners can practice their language skills and enjoy cultural activities. Students taking the baccalaureate--the university entrance exam--now have a greater need for these skills, as the Senegalese Ministry of National Education recently add a writing portion of the English test section of the exam. The government radio station in Dakar has a weekly call-in program in English, and a station in Ziguinchor has asked USIS for the program Tuning in the USA so it can teach English by radio.

The Accent is on English in Dakar

English language professionals in Senegal met recently to discuss the role of regional dialects in American society and how these dialects define the social and political status of linguistic groups.  The discussion was part of a continuing series on the English language organized and hosted by the USIS Regional English Language Officer in Senegal, Melvia Hasman.  Although the topic centered on subcultures within the U.S., participants were able to relate the theme to the linguistic situation in their own country.  The program took place in the auditorium of the West African Research Center in Dakar and was recorded for broadcast later on RTS Radio, a station operated by the Senegalese government.

Laying the Groundwork for Exchanges in Madagascar

The island nation of Madagascar is home to hundreds of unique plant and animal species, and its forests are an untapped source of new medicines. Using sustainable methods to preserve this fragile environment as it is developed is the goal of a new relationship between the University of North Madagascar (UNM) and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The two institutions have agreed to collaborate on environmental research, technology transfer, technical support, and training. They recently shared costs so the rector of UNM could visit the Center for Environmental Engineering and Science Technologies in Lowell for direct discussions. English teaching projects in Madagascar which are supported by USIS,  helped lay the groundwork for the new partnership.

New Programs in Guinea

Guinea is assuming an increasingly important role in economic and peacekeeping activities in West Africa, and a knowledge of English is necessary to Guinean officials involved in these activities. To assist the government in improving the English language skills of its employees, USIS sent academic specialist Metta Callahan to Conakry to set up classes in both the central bank and foreign ministry. The RELO had consultations with Guinea's Commissioner of Police and the commandante at the military base to set up similar classes at their respective institutes.

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