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Feb 18, 2016

Faculty Lecturer Dr. Kyuma Nzuki Attains a Doctoral Degree in French

Dr. Kyuma Bernard Nzuki, believes that studying French or any other foreign language, is an added advantage to any student looking to create an impact and stand out in the working world today. Gaining a liking for the French language since highschool, at Tala High School, Dr. Nzuki saw it fit to further his French studies at Moi University where he undertook a course in Literary Studies – French major and Literature minor before undertaking a PhD in French years later.

 

After his undergraduate in 2002, Dr. Nzuki founded Alliance Française Eldoret where he taught French for six years before writing a proposal to Universite De Lorraine (University of Lorraine) France, where he was accepted to study a master’s degree in French. His research was titled Teaching and learning materials for the French subject; at that time, Dr. Nzuki assumed majority of the students who dropped the subject did so due to a lack in materials and how the subject was taught. However he discovered that these issues were not the root causes of this significant drop, and as a result Dr. Nzuki applied for a scholarship at the French Embassy to further his studies. His application was successful and Dr. Nzuki began his PhD.

 

His research course was a sandwich program where he was expected to attend classes in France for 3 months after which he was allowed to continue with the research back at home. Dr. Nzuki defended his proposal in December last year before being awarded the Doctor title. 

 

PhD Research

Dr. Nzuki’s topic read: The causes of French students dropping French in highschool form two, and those who continue with it, why do they do that?


This is the first doctoral research conducted in Kenya on causes of decline in French foreign language for learners in high school. It analyzed the context of language learning in Kenya: their origins, their uses, their users and the didactic relations, professional, social, economic and cultural, maintained by Kenya and its neighboring countries.

 

Research Findings

 

Many students drop French in form two of highschool for various reasons;

  • To choose another subject that they consider easier, which will boost their national examination marks in form four.
  • To choose another subject that they cannot undertake after form four, students believe they can study French after highschool.
  • The way the French subject is marked, and the way other languages like German are marked differ. German students seemed to get higher marks compared to French students.

Seven French key officials in Kenya and 64 French teachers were interviewed for this research. 179 French learners from high school (half of those who decided to continue, and the other half dropped the subject) filled a questionnaire on this matter. The questions focused on discontinuation of the language and choice to continue learning the French language at the end of the second year of high school.

 

Benefits of this Research

 

  • This kind of research shows policy makers why students are dropping the language that much.
  • It also shows the kind of understanding people have towards the language; some parents do not see the importance of studying a language. Through this research, parents can gain a bit of understanding as to why studying a language is important.
 

Challenges Experienced during Research

 

  • Dr. Nzuki found it difficult to get research material available from past researches due to the fact that the country has not archived research conducted for the subject. As it is, Dr. Nzuki’s research would easily be accessible at the French Embassy but not anywhere else, due to the fact that there is nowhere to record such research in the country.
  • During his research period, Dr. Nzuki experienced lack in finances because he was not funded for his movement from one town to another; the research was conducted in Nairobi and Eldoret because that is where Dr. Nzuki taught. 

 

To gain further insights on Dr. Nzuki’s research contact him on bkyuma@strathmore.edu. Dr. Nzuki is a part time French Lecturer with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) at Strathmore University.

 

Outside of French, Dr. Nzuki is a businessman, conducts translations and interpretations, and is also a farmer. 

Contact Details

Madaraka Estate
Ole Sangale Road, PO Box 59857,
00200 City Square
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0703-034000, 0703-034200

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