On Tuesday 2nd May 2017, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has officially launched the Foreign Languages Training programme in Chinese, French and Arabic Languages at the Armed Forces Educational Center (AFEC), Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown. The event which took place at the AFEC Headquarters was witnessed by the Hon Deputy Minister of Defence, Captain (Rtd) Abdul Rahman Kamara as Guest of Honour, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Chief of Defence Staff, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces-Lieutenant General John Edson Milton and other senior military Officers.
According to the Acting Commanding Officer at the AFEC, Major MBS Kamara during his welcome address stressed that the initiative for RSLAF to introduce the French, Arabic and Chinese Languages into its training curriculum is a dream comes true and therefore geared towards empowering their compatriots to be efficient in their line of duty. The RSLAF on this memorable day have joined other armies around the world in capacitating its personnel to learn and communicate in at least an international language which is required of a professional military and this will not only strengthen the bilateral relationship, but also helps to promote the exchange of cultural values between the RSLAF and troops from other countries.
The Acting Commanding officer further stressed that the AFEC had over the years stood by its Vision Statement which is “To be a National Training Institution capable of providing quality training for service personnel and their dependants thereby repositioning them to meeting future employment challenges”. To achieve this, the Centre is vigorously pursuing this statement by undertaken educational opportunities for serving personnel and their dependants. AFEC have admitted personnel to the Adult Literacy and Numeracy classes, the Basic Education Certificate examinations, the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations and the computer training courses. The Centre had also realized that the enhancement of RSLAF female counterparts is crucial as AFEC strive to contribute to the overall development of the military; therefore, in all their programmes, gender is paramount. The Centre is also working assiduously to implement the first RSLAF Technical Vocational College with the main objective being to empower service personnel to learn skills trade which they could use even after their retirement to sustain their livelihood.
The Hon Deputy Minister of Defence in his key note address expressed delight for such a ground breaking ceremony. He stated that the introduction of the Foreign Language training at the AFEC is a brilliant initiative that will benefit the RSLAF in diverse ways.
He further stated that this is another milestone in the realization of His Excellency’s dream of developing the capacity of RSLAF personnel to surmount the challenges of modern Armed Forces. Members of our Armed Forces may from time to time be required to deploy on multi-national peacekeeping operations either as formed troops or as staff officers and military observers he added.
Captain (Rtd) Abdul Rahman Kamara thanked all personalities present and strongly recognized the efforts of the Chinese Professor HE Mingqing who is the Head of the Confucius Institute for Chinese Languages at Fourah Bay College, Ahlul Bayt Servants Mission and the French DA in Sierra Leone with other service providers who had played a great role in seeing the success of such programme.
The Foreign Languages training is aimed at developing Communication Skills of RSLAF personnel to enhance operations in an environment where these foreign languages are spoken and this will adequately prepare would-be peacekeepers in order to make them more effective and efficient in executing their duties.
The Hon Deputy Minister of Defense concluded by praising Officers, men and women of AFEC for a good initiative which the entire RSLAF will stand to benefit from and implore all participants to take this programme with all the seriousness it deserves.
He also took the opportunity as Guest of Honour on behalf of His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF to officially declare the Armed Forces Foreign Languages programme opened.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.