The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, has asked the Chinese government to establish the headquarters of the Confucius Institute for Africa at Makerere University.
Nawangwe made the remarks on Tuesday during a breakfast meeting to launch three media projects between Chinese Embassy in Uganda and Vision Group held at Protea Hotel in Kampala.
“You need to build the headquarters of the Confucius Institute for Africa at Makerere in Uganda which is at the heart of Africa,” Nawagwe said.
He noted that some land has already been identified at the University and it will be grateful if the institute is established.
The breakfast meeting was attended by the Chinese Embassy Deputy Head of Mission, Chen Huixin, Vision Group Executive Director Robert Kabushenga, 2018 winners of the Pakasa Youth Awards, My China Story Essay winners among others.
With only four years in existence, the institute was honoured the top institute in 2018 for its excellence in teaching the Mandarin language and Chinese culture to students across the country.
“The Confucius Institute was awarded the best institute out of the 500 institutes in the world. This is a major milestone for the University and the country. With this recognition the relationship between the two countries is bound to grow,” Nawangwe said.
This is the first time Makerere Confucius Institute has won this award which is given by the Chinese Language Council International.
“Next year we hope to be training as many people in Uganda as possible in Chinese and being further reorganized means we can even get more resources from the headquarters including more teachers so that we provide more teaching to Ugandans,” Nawangwe said.
Nawangwe noted that the Confucius Institute at Makerere University is growing by leaps and bounds and linking the people of Uganda and China.
Makerere is home to one of the 54 Confucius Institutes in Africa. Established in 2014 at Makerere University, the Confucius Institute is the only established institute in Uganda to handle the teaching and learning of Chinese.
Only some 33 African countries have Confucius Institutes, but the total comes to 54 since some countries, such as South Africa, have five, and Kenya four.
Huinix in his remarks urged Ugandans to learn Chinese and be part of the Uganda-China relations.
“I am not quite sure how many of you may be able to communicate in Chinese, but I am sure more will emerge, especially with the latest initiative from the Vision Group and the Makerere University, the Confucius Institute in particular,” Huixin said.
He commended Makerere University for its contribution towards building China-Uganda relations
“To Makerere University, we want to applaud you for your strong and consistent efforts in building for the future,”
The institute’s vision is to be a dynamic, self-reliant and autonomous centre of excellence in the provision of quality teaching and research in Chinese studies with an emphasis on language and culture as well as service to the community.
The institute has grown and the number of students has increased l from 40 to about 6,000 currently. Several other Confucius centres which operate in selected secondary schools, like Luyanzi College, Ntare School and at Karuma have been established
New courses have also been established with the recent one being the Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies.
The Institute is supported by the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Uganda, Makerere University and Xiangtan University of China.
According to Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire, the Ugandan Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, the main objective of the programme is to provide learners with certified proficiency in Mandarin and competence in understanding its linguistic, cultural and literacy aspect.
Confucius Institute is a non-profit public educational organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, whose aim is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges.