Rhodes University Logo
Rhodes > School of Languages > Latest News

Rhodes students excel in French

Date Released: Thu, 21 November 2013 17:00 +0200

An awards ceremony was held recently to celebrate the success of Rhodes University students who passed the DELF A1 test. This is a standardized test designed and developed by the French Government to measure the French language proficiency of foreigners and overseas students.

The certificate obtained following the test is in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The exam, which comprises an oral and written component, allows students to gain admission to foreign universities as there is enough evidence of the language knowledge.

This certificate serves as a proof of proficiency in French which is particularly important for those who are not majoring in French. Students who would like to continue their studies (Psychology, Law, History, Medical Sciences, Sociology, Journalism, etc.) at higher education institutions in France, Canada, Belgium, etc. will be required to demonstrate that they know the French language. The DELF certificate will be required as TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) is in the South African education system.

Mr Patrick Parrot, French Attaché for Cultural Cooperation, Mr Aurélien de Chappotin, Director of the Alliance Française in Port Elizabeth, Prof Tom Martin, Deputy Dean of Humanities and Drs Claire Cordell and Arthur Mukenge from French Studies, attended the ceremony at Rhodes University’s School of Languages where Mr Patrick Parrot and Mr Aurélien de Chappotin handed out certificates to the students.

Mr Parrot was delighted with the results and urged more students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn to speak French. He said this was the first time a higher education institution in South Africa has been allowed to offer the DELF exam, and that following the success of this pilot project, French Studies will also be offering DELF A2 and B1 from 2014.

For Olivia Kawuma, who is from Uganda and studying Economics and Organisational Psychology at Rhodes University, the opportunity to learn conversational French could not be missed. She is among the top achievers of this year’s exam results.  

“This year my family moved to Cote d’Ivoire so I decided to take up French in order to help me get along better when I go to visit. Doing French this year, I felt that it has inspired me to work as a teacher in France someday. French also opens many doors into international organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations and I hope to work in rural development for such organisations in the future. This compelled me to do DELF and I hope to do more DELF exams in the future until I’m at the level required to work in these organisations,” said Kawuma.

Kathleen Painter, who was also among the top achievers, said the invigilator was very encouraging and “kept reminding us not to stress (‘pas de stress’). Overall the test was acceptable and I am very happy with my mark and am keen to do the next level next year.”

Takundanashe Chinogwenya, who was another student to excel, said it was “a pretty cool thing to do and will be something that will come in handy in my future”.

It should be noted that the testing in proficiency German is administered worldwide by the Goethe Institute from Berlin and leads to the Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache, which has the same scale as DELF (French), while for the Chinese language the test is called “Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi”, known as HSK and is administered internationally under the monitoring of the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University. These language proficiency tests are also available to students at Rhodes.

By Sarah-Jane Bradfield



Source:Communications and Marketing