Uganda: 35 Schools to Teach Chinese

Students learn Mandarin at Everest College in Luwero district, Uganda.
21 December 2018

Kampala — Government has named 35 secondary schools countrywide selected to teach Chinese language as one of the newest subjects on the secondary school syllabus.

The Ministry of Education's National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) selected the schools to benefit from the Chinese subject to be rolled next year.

At least 35 teacher trainers, who had been training in the Chinese language for the last nine months, have completed their course and will be posted to those various schools to spearhead the initial lessons.

The schools are spread across the five regions of the country.

Central region has the highest representation with 11 schools, followed by western region with eight, eastern is represented by seven, and northern region has five while West Nile has four.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony of the selected teacher trainers at Luyanzi College in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District, yesterday, Ms Esther Mbayo, the Minister for Presidency, said government is ready to begin the classes. "We have received starting materials such as textbooks and illustrations. We have also received some tutors from the Chinese government and we are ready to take on the programme come next year," she said.

According to Ms Mbayo, the decision to teach Chinese in schools was informed by the increasing bilateral trade and the growing friendship between the two countries.

This brings the number of international subjects done at various education levels in Uganda to six including; English, French, Arabic, Latin and German.

Ms Grace Baguma, the director of NCDC, said the Chinese subject will be compulsory for Senior One and Senior Two students and optional for Senior Three and other upper classes.

"We hope the schools will comply positively. We hope to add on the number of schools with time," she said.

Responding to the question of sustainability of the programme, Ms Baguma said two more groups of teachers will be trained in the next two years so that the number goes to 100.

"We will have more 30 teachers trained and the last group will have 40. These will still be distributed all over the country," she said.

Ms Baguma said Makerere University will be introducing a bachelor's course for more qualified teachers.

Prof Eria Hisali from the College of Business and Management at Makerere University who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said by the year 2019/20, they will introduce a bachelor's degree in Chinese language and culture.

"We have been part of this cause and we shall continue to support it. Next year we shall have the new course, we shall keep introducing up to Master's degree with time," Mr Hisali said.

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