Government Says Bilingualism Is Obligatory In Public Services

The Constitution and other related government texts impose English and French in all public service spheres in Cameroon. Before  ...

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The Constitution and other related government texts impose English and French in all public service spheres in Cameroon.
Before  President Paul Biya issued decree N° 2017/013 of 23 January  2017 to lay down the establishment, organisation and functioning of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, the practice of bilingualism in the country had long been made obligatory in public services.

Law N° 96-06 of 18 January 1996  to amend the Constitution of 2 June 1972 in Article 1 paragraph three states that, «The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French  having the same status. The State shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It shall endeavour to protect and promote national languages. »

The National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism has only come to add a new impetus and clarify government’s option of bilingualism. Chapter II paragraph two of the decree creating the Commission specifies that it shall be responsible for ;
«Monitoring the implementation of constitutional provisions  establishing English and French as two languages of equal status, and especially ensuring their use in all government services, semi-public bodies, as well as any State-subsidized body.» 

The decree creating the Commission just as with other decrees and decisions  of the Head of State ends with the declaration, «  This decree shall be registered, published according to the procedure of urgency and inserted in the Official Gazette in English and French. »

Prime Minister, Head of Government in a recent cabinet meeting reminded ministers and other senior government officials to ensure the strict respect of bilingualism in the respective structures they head by making sure that all documents are in the two official languages.


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Peter Mafany Musonge 65240534045860821

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