France to enhance ties on education and culture with Malaysia

French govt is looking to increase the teaching of French among the schools in Sabah


The French embassy is looking to enhance education and culture cooperation between Malaysia and France by increasing the presence of French companies and education.

Frédéric Laplanche

Laplanche further says the cooperation between the 2 countries has extended past the economy and politics, and now rooted in culture as well (Pic by Afif Abd Halim/TMR)

French Ambassador to Malaysia Frédéric Laplanche said the French government is looking to increase the teaching of French among the schools in Sabah.

“One thing that we can improve on is that there are not enough Malaysian students in France. There is a general sentiment that it is difficult because they think they’ll have to learn the language first, but it’s easier now as there are more courses being taught in English,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Approximately 900 Malaysian students are enrolled in French higher education, while there are 13,000 French language students in over 90 local secondary schools, which are expected to double in five years, according to the France Diplomatie’s country file for Malaysia.

Laplanche further said the cooperation between the two countries has extended past the economy and politics, and now rooted in culture as well.

“The French Film Festival has reached Penang and Johor Baru, which shows that there is a great strength in our arts exchange,” he said.

Furthermore, he pointed out that Paris’ Centre Georges Pompidou is featuring pieces by artist Latiff Mohidin, which is the first time the gallery is focused on South-East Asian art.

“It is one of the most important galleries in France and to have a Malaysian artist’s works featured there shows both countries’ recognition in arts,” he said.

Latiff’s art from his Pago-Pago series will be exhibited until May 28, 2018. This year’s concert themed “One Planet” is to deliver a message on climate change through music and songs that represent the two countries, including P Ramlee’s Nak Dara Rindu and La tendresse.

The performances featured 23 French students from Lycée Français de Kuala Lumpur (KL) and 22 singers from the KL Children’s Choir.

The Saya Sayang Paris! is part of Le French Festival 2018, formerly known as the French Art and Film Festival, which is an annual event that provides a platform of expression for French arts and cultural exchanges, while showcasing arts from cinemas, performing arts, visual arts and gastronomy.

It was founded by music teacher and artist Najwa Halim as a non-profit organisation to promote arts and education, whereby the first edition last year celebrated the 60th year of the France-Malaysia tie.

The organisation is funded by BNP Paribas Malaysia Bhd and Atalian Global Services Sdn Bhd.

The relationship between Malaysia — then Federation of Malaya — and France was established immediately after the former achieved its independence in 1957.

This significantly improved in terms of economics, politics and cultural aspects much later during Jacques Chirac’s and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administrations.

Currently, Malaysia is France’s second-largest economic partner in Asean and has been investing in the country’s technology sectors, including aeronautics and defence.

In return, Malaysian companies possess various investments in the European country’s tourism sector as the gateway to its market.