Algerians Want to Replace French with English
The Algerian society is going through a crucial and delicate period in its history. The issue of language wakes a recurring debate in the country. Since the outbreak of the popular revolt, many voices are rising against the French language; a language that has been existed for almost a century and half in Algeria and in its neighbors such as Morocco and Tunisia. During this current period of political crisis that shakes Algeria, Algerians feel that is a high time to end the presence of the French language in Algeria on the pretext that it was that of the colonizer and it is not an international business language, thus it should be replaced by English.
This idea of switching a language has been already emerged since September 2010, by the former Minister of Higher Education, Rachid Harraoubia, who revealed that his department “was working seriously on the possibility of introducing the English language instead of French in universities, especially in scientific and technological branches “.Recently, the new Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Tayeb Bouzid declared that “we must work to put in place the necessary mechanisms within the framework of the pedagogical commissions of the universities and consolidate the use of English in the research because the English language is the language of international channels and those of scientific journals “. He launched a survey on the replacement of French by English in higher education. According to the results, 94% of the voters are in favor of the use of the language of Shakespeare instead of that of Descartes. On July 21, 2019, the Minister instructed the rectors of all the faculties in Algeria to use only Arabic and English in the official documents (diplomas, transcripts, postings, letters, etc.), and this, according to the minister,” as part of the policy of encouraging and strengthening the use of the English language and for better visibility of educational and scientific activities in the higher education sector of the Algerian universities. According to him, this choice meets the wishes of students who want their diplomas to be recognized abroad.
Most of the Algerian citizens are in favor of replacing French with English language in education. But such a great and important decision for universities, students and scientific research, requires profound reforms from the primary cycle and a framework over several years. The government launches it without any preparation. Frankly speaking, Algeria does not possess the means and trainers to switch to English. It should also be emphasized that education in Algeria is provided in Arabic from primary to secondary. Learning French only begins in the third grade, whereas English only begins in the first year with a very few hours. So, it is not enough because it is a work that will span several years, thus, a long-term strategy should be developed by academics and specialists who would take into account several aspects.
Furthermore, a language cannot replace another because each language has its importance and its richness, in other words, a language cannot be replaced by another instead it is built and takes root gradually. The French language in Algeria is more than a matter of language; it is a part of the Algerians and a part of their culture and history. It is really important to spot the light on the fact that though the French language is not an international business language but it is indeed the language of business in Algeria. Almost half of the Algerian citizens use this language in their economic, cultural, artistic, tourist and other transactions. Thus, it’s not easy to switch from one language of work and teaching to another.
Briefly, instead of thinking to switch French by English, it is better for Algerians to think to develop their own national languages Tamazight; their ancestral language and Arabic; the Quran language. Moreover, Algerians should seek to enrich themselves humanely, intellectually and scientifically with the learning of languages to get more open into the world. English should be introduced progressively, extensively and intensively in the scientific research and in education cause it is an international language which is spoken everywhere without eliminating the French language or any other language.
Written by ARAB Sabrina