Minister Alupo has defended the need to include the language on Uganda''s curriculum.
By Paul Kiwuuwa
The Chinese government has agreed to fund the teaching of the Chinese language in Ugandan secondary schools to a tune of sh30.8 billion, education minister Jessica Alupo has said.
Alupo defended the need to include Chinese as one of the foreign languages in Uganda’s secondary school curriculum.
“Apparently, in the secondary school syllabus in Uganda, French, Arabic, Kiswahili and German languages are taught. We want to include Chinese to improve our tourism sector and concretize bilateral relationship with China.”
She explained that the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) has drafted a memo to be presented before Cabinet soon.
“Recently the tourism minister, Maria Mutagamba, presented a memo before Cabinet, to amend the curriculum to include the Chinese language in secondary syllabus, to which I supported.”
“The world economy is changing,” she added, “Chinese is one of the most spoken languages worldwide.
“Besides, China is one of the fastest-growing economies and the largest population in the world. China’s influence in global affairs is growing annually.
“Ugandans can’t miss this opportunity.”
Alupo said when she visited China on May 26 with Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali, she presented a draft proposal seeking a grant of sh30.8b from the Chinese government to facilitate the introduction of the Chinese language into Uganda’s education system at secondary level.
Then, she was also in company of Uganda's Ambassador to China, Charles Wagidoso, and NCDC executive director, Connie Kateeba.
Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali. (Credit: Ronnie Kijjambu)
The minister and her team also asked for the Chinese government’s support for the NCDC – and that China agreed to all their requests.
It is understood that China offered Uganda five scholarships to a core team of people to learn the Chinese language in China, who upon return, will act as master trainers.
“I have written a letter to President Museveni briefing him on various engagements the ministry has had abroad with the Chinese government,” said Minister Alupo.
In 2014, Makerere University partnered with Xiangtan University in China to start the Confucius Institute located at Makerere University, meant to offer degree and short certificate courses in the Chinese language and culture.
The degree course entails education, financial, social, economic, cultural and political traits of the Chinese people.
“At our meeting, the Chinese government offered Uganda more in-service teachers of Chinese language at Makerere University Confucius Institute in addition to offering Uganda a team of Chinese teachers to kick-start the teaching of Chinese in Ugandan schools as a pilot project.
“The Chinese government also offered to donate instructional materials and open a regional Confucius Institute in Uganda,” added the minister.
Meanwhile, Prof. Edward Kirumira, the principal of the college of humanities and social sciences at Makerere University, says degree course for the Chinese language started in the 2014/2015 academic year.
The programme, expected to admit about 30 to 40 students every academic year, is open to undergraduate students, diploma holders as well as mature entrants.
The Confucius Institute hosts other short certificate courses for diplomats and businesspeople interested in learning the Chinese language and culture, says the professor.
China to fund teaching of Chinese in Ugandan schools