By Brian Matsiko
The government of Uganda has identified 35 secondary schools countrywide that have been 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 out 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.
While speaking during the graduation ceremony of the selected teacher trainers at Luyanzi College in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District, on Thursday, Esther Mbayo, the Minister for the 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,” Mbayo said.
According to Mbayo, the decision to teach Chinese in schools was informed by the increasing bilateral trade and the growing friendship between Uganda and China.
It should be noted however that this brings the number of international languages done at various education levels in Uganda to six including; English, French, Arabic, Latin and German.
On her part, 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,” Baguma said.
While responding to the question of sustainability of the programme, Baguma noted that two more groups of teachers will be trained in the next two years so that the number goes to 100,” Baguma explained.
She added that “We will have more 30 teachers trained and the last group will have 40. These will still be distributed all over the country.”
Baguma also revealed that Makerere University will be introducing a bachelors course in Chinese language for more qualified teachers.
Prof. Eria Hisali from the College of Business and Management, Makerere University, who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said by the year 2019/2020 ends, they will have introduced a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and culture.
Hisali said that “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 as time goes on.”