Teacher Preparation and the Implementation of Official Bilingualism in Anglophone Primary Schools in Cameroon: A Study of Some Teacher Training Colleges in the Buea Municipality
Since the reunification of the two Cameroons in 1961, successive modes of application of official bilingualism have been adopted geared toward empowering every child leaving school with communication competencies in English and French. Despite the noble intentions, the pedagogic implications of the implementation remain uncertain. With the current Anglophone crisis, the much talked about ‘living together’ is threatened by a linguistic divide which, undeniably, has a huge toll on the cultural heritage of the two linguistic communities in the country. One wonders why after more than half a century; official bilingualism is not yet a living reality among school leavers. In teacher training institutions responsible for laying the foundation for the achievement of the policy, language curriculum still leaves much to be desired. This research investigates teacher preparation as a crucial link in implementing the official bilingualism policy in Anglophone primary schools. It focuses on language curriculum as the basis for teacher training to establish its adequacy in the achievement of official bilingualism. The paper examines official bilingualism in the professional preparation of teachers in some public, confessional and lay private teacher training institutions in the Buea municipality of the South West Region of Cameroon. The findings reveal that, though most teachers have a good working experience of over 10 years, their deficient bilingualism levels do not reflect effectiveness in bilingualism teaching. They cannot plan, implement and evaluate French and bilingualism training lessons. They lack exposure in terms of content knowledge and pedagogic skills and have limited time allocation for bilingual training. Finally, teachers do not master the French language subject matter they are expected to teach.