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Creating a bilingual campus at a polytechnic institute in French West Africa: Interdisciplinary issues, challenges and recommendations Public

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This paper presents the efforts to help create a bilingual (French-English) campus at the Institut national polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB) in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. During a four-month stint on campus, the author conducted a needs assessment that included 1) the current state of the institute; 2) the needs and recommendations of multinational corporations that employ institute graduates; 3) the current levels of English of faculty and students; 4) the discussion of pedagogical strategies; and 5) recommendations for future action. Many significant challenges face the 3,000 students and 500 faculty and staff at INP-HB: an isolated location, a curriculum taught only in French, weak English skills, the presence of few native English-speaking faculty on campus, the prohibitive cost of study abroad in the United States or the United Kingdom, and the outdated methods used to teach English in Ivorian secondary schools and higher education institutions. This project represents a classic challenge to strengthen interdisciplinary connections between English for Special Purposes faculty and faculty representing INP-HB’s professional schools.

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