Ghanaian Student Shares The Condition Of Studying In Togo Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic


This story was submitted to by EMMANUEL BARTELS ANKRAH

Togo is one of the smallest countries in West Africa bordered by Ghana to its west, Benin to its East and Burkina to its north.

It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea where its capital LOMÉ is located. It is a francophone country with an approximate of 7.9 million population.

Centre international de recherche et d’étude langue (CIREL), Village du Benin (VB), is a  school under the Université de Lomé which has been internationally recognised as one of the best language schools in West Africa.

Since its establishment in 1968, it has on usual basis taught and trained people from 36 countries and more of to master some foreign languages like French and English and other interesting programmes like tourism etc.

Ghana and Nigeria are not exempted from the 36 and still counting countries.

In Ghana, the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and University of Education (UEW) send their 3rd and 4th-year French students, respectively to go and ameliorate their proficiency in the French language.

This offer is motivated by a fully funded scholarship programme from the Ghana scholarship secretariat.

This academic year, CIREL received 210 students from the above Ghanaian universities, UCC and UEW.

As part of the initiative of probing to know the condition of Ghanaian students studying abroad amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, I decided not to leave them out.

Bertha Anne, a third-year student of the University of Cape Coast shares with us their current state and condition amidst this pandemic. “We are very safe here. Nothing bad has happened to anyone here. We have all been strictly confined in our hostel. No going out nor coming in! We’re not even allowed to go and use the campus’  Wi-Fi connection. The only place we’re permitted to go is the forecourt of the hostel and later return back to the hostel. The security is very tight here yeah! Initially, when it started where this COVID-19 had the media attention and also had our school being suspended on 20th March, 2020, some of us became very scared. We felt insecure and wanted to come back home, Ghana. I think it was the best decision our authorities made to keep us here. Togo has only recorded 126 coronavirus cases with 76 recoveries and 9 deaths.

                                Bertha on E-learning

Yes! I have heard of the E-learning brouhaha from some colleague students in Ghana. We have not been enrolled on any e-learning or whatsoever. Nonetheless, our lecturers have given us some assignments to occupy ourselves with.

             University’s support to foreign students

They provided soap and the Veronica buckets at vantage points and enjoined students especially those who did not take the virus seriously to wash their hands and observe the other precautionary measures to keep us safe from contracting the virus. They have also assigned to us some health workers who routinely check up on us to see whether anyone has been showing symptoms of the virus and as well educate us on how to keep ourselves safe. Also, they have provided us with a car which sends a selected few to the market to buy our food stuff and essential things we need per the list and money we give them. I think the authorities of CIREL, VB have done well.

                     The challenges COVID-19 has brought

This COVID-19 pandemic has retarded learning. As a confined people from one country, most of us have paused the conscious effort of practising the French language which is our prime motive of being here. We mostly open and end conversations with our local dialect which is not advisable.

                             The positive aspects of the pandemic

Most of us are using the time judiciously by upgrading our skills, learning new skills and new languages like German and Spanish. Others too busily watching their telenovelas and other TV series which the serious studies couldn’t permit them to watch. Sure! It’s necessary! Hehehe! The University of Cape Coast was the only university that was able to celebrate her SOIRÉE before the Covid-19 Pandemic. Soirée is an annual celebration observed by all the universities under CIREL. They do this to showcase the rich culture of their country and also use that medium to practice their French through numerous performances”.

This story was submitted to by EMMANUEL BARTELS ANKRAH


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