By Innocent Anguyo
The Makerere University Senate, the institution’s supreme academic body has approved the teaching of Chinese and Spanish as subjects under the Bachelor of Arts programme.
In a message issued yesterday, Makerere University academic registrar Alfred Masikye said that Chinese and Spanish subjects will be taught effective 2014/2015 academic year as Bachelor of Arts.
“Senate approved the teaching of both subjects as Chinese Beginners and Advanced and Spanish Beginners and Advanced,” Masikye explained. Call for applications will be made in June.
Therefore, to attain degree certification for the two languages, one has to enroll on the Bachelor of Arts programme. The tuition fee of the course is sh730, 000.
The subjects will cover all aspects of life, including the social, economic and political characteristics of the Chinese and Spanish people respectively.
Hasifah Kabejja, the spokesperson for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) however said a student is permitted to take either of the two languages
Professionals, diplomats and businesspeople can enroll on short courses in Chinese and Spanish at Makerere’s institute of languages, Kabejja added.
Spanish has been a short course at the institute of languages for a while. Makerere recently partnered with Xiangtan University in China to start the Confucius Institute, meant to offer courses in the Chinese language and culture.
The Confucius Institute at Makerere is named after the renowned Chinese philosopher, Confucius.
Last year Prof. Edward Kirumira, the principal of CHUSS said the Chinese government would be sending two lecturers to Makerere University as the university builds capacity to take over.
Kabejja said Makerere had chosen to teach the two languages to prepare Ugandans to exploit opportunities in the fast emerging economies in South America (Spanish language and culture) and Asia (Chinese language and culture).
Geoffrey Maskin, a businessman said he would study Chinese because he planned to start exporting agricultural produce to the world’s most populous nation.
Coupled with China’s growing military and political might, understanding China is a sure way of taping into the vast potential of the country, especially when it has become Africa’s leading trading partner.
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