Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Uganda Plans to 'Import' Swahili Teachers

Arusha — THE Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa, has said that Tanzania welcomes the suggestion of the neighbouring Uganda to "import" Swahili teachers from Tanzania and Kenya.

"I have not yet received any request on the matter from Uganda," Dr Kawambwa told the EANA in a telephone interview over the week end.

But the Minister explained further; "This is not a request because it is part of the East African Community (EAC) agreement on employment for the people within the EAC member states. Citizens in the region have equal rights to be employed in any of the five countries on the fields already agreed upon".

EANA was making a follow up on recent press report in Uganda that it was expecting to import teachers from the two EAC member states whose 90 per cent of their citizens speak Swahili. The other EAC members are Rwanda and Burundi who are also making efforts to grasp the seemingly lingua franca for the region.

Dr Kawambwa elaborated that the criteria to get such an employment opportunity was that, the posts should be announced and people with the right qualifications in the region can apply.

"We have plans to recruit Swahili language teachers so that they teach in primary and secondary schools," Ugandan Minister of Education, Ms Jessica Alupo was quoted as telling a press conference in Uganda last week.

The Minister further stated that: "We are doing this in response to the need to integrate with other East African countries where Swahili is widely spoken."

"Uganda has less than five per cent of people who can speak Swahili. It is believed the language was associated with brutality because former dictator Iddi Amin and the army spoke Swahili," she said.

Now that the countries are integrating politically, Uganda has seen a necessity to teach its nationals the language so that they can easily communicate with their neighbours.

According to Minister Alupo, the Ugandan government has realised that Swahili is one of the strongest components in the process of the East African Community Federation and integration and has finalised the policy to teach Swahili in primary schools starting in 2013.

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