The Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria French Language Village (NFLV), Badagry, Lagos, Prof. Lateef Babtunde Ayeleru, FNAL, said the Village is committed to pursuing its mandate to ensure that it remains a Centre of excellence and a pride to the country despite the poor funding it received from the Federal Government.
The idea of the Nigeria French Language Village was conceived by former Minister of Education, Prof. Jubril Aminu, but his successor, Prof. Babs Fafunwa his successor saw to the take-off of the Village in September 1991, with the vision to empower all persons, irrespective of age, culture, creed or sex, with appropriate communication skills in the effective use of the French Language at both professional and inter-personal levels.
The first set of undergraduates from only six Nigerian Universities resumed in the Village on Monday 6th January, 1992.
Prof. Ayeleru made this disclosure while speaking with the select journalists at the Village, which was preceded by a tour of ongoing rehabilitation of dilapidated blocks of offices, classrooms and hostels in the institution.
The Director/CEO of Nigeria French Language Village (NFLV) said despite the problem of poor funding faced by the Village, it remained one of the best projects that emerged on the country’s educational terrain, given the excellent profile of its workforce and the dynamic approach of management under him to initiating development- oriented and self-sustaining programmes and projects.
The Village covers about 16 hectares of land in the coastal and historical town of Badagry, and it occupies the site of former Government Teachers’ Training College along the Lagos-Seme expressway.
“In spite of its poor funding, the Nigeria French Language Village is one of the best projects that emerged on our National Educational terrain, given the excellent profile of its workforce and the dynamic approach of Management to initiating development – oriented and self-sustaining programmes and projects.
“The Village is committed to pursuing its mandate to ensure that this centre remains a Centre of excellence and a pride to the Nigerian nation,” he said.
According to Ayeleru, the poor funding being suffered by the Village is occasioned by the fact that it receives no foreign aid and has been delisted from TETFund since 2010, adding that the Village received the least allocation of all institutions operating within the ambit of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in the country.
This was just as he pointedly declared that the institution needed assistance to be able to fulfill its core mandate.
“The Nigeria French Language Village is, contrary to what most people think, a very poor institution. It receives no foreign aid and has been delisted from TETFund since 2010.
“It receives the least allocation of all institutions operating within the ambit of the National Universities Commission (NUC). And small as its budget is, it is only partially released.
“The cost of running the Village almost exclusively on diesel, monthly salary payment to Action Guards, payment of labourers and cleaners all sourced from the paltry Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the cost of maintaining the Village hostels, classrooms and residential buildings, the environment and vehicles, leave at the end of the day the Village in deficit which continues to mount every month,” he stated.
“The Nigeria French Language Village needs assistance,” he declared.
Speaking further, Prof. Ayeleru said over the years, the Village, which is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Education, within the ambit of the National Universities Commission (NUC), had Students enrolment.
Over the years, the Village had trained over 72,000 students from more than 30 universities, 35 Colleges of Education and thousands of other categories of Nigerian learners.
He said the students’ population had also increased in recent times particularly with the intensive advocacy by the management of institution under his leadership, adding that the Village had also organised workshops and refresher courses for about 561 teachers across the federation.
“Apart from the fact that students who undergo their Language Immersion course in the French Village exhibit higher levels of competence in French Language after their Immersion programme compared to the few who still travel out of the country for the same programme, the establishment of the French Village has saved the nation millions of dollar in forex,” Ayeleru said.