Twelve students were presented before the judges to test their skill in Chinese.
WAKISO - Ugandan students this year, yet again put to test their proficiency in Chinese at the eleventh "Chinese Bridge" competition, a contest for secondary school students.
In a packed hall at Luyanzi College in Bweyogere Wakiso district, 12 students were presented before the judges to test their skill in Chinese.
Each student was presented before the audience amidst cheers and given 3 minutes to make a speech on a topic of their choice after which they had to answer two questions from the judges.
Some exhibited brilliance in the speech and answer session, while some struggled as the crowd made of students, and teachers most of whom understood or spoke a little bit of Chinese cheered the contestants.
The quiz section was followed by a talent show. Contestant's showcased their skill in art, some drawing live on stage while others presented calligraphy.
Some of the contestants performed Chinese folk dance to the excitement of spectators. Participants were largely from the host school, Everest College Luwero and The British School.
Angella Nyiriek 16 years, from Evererst College was on stage doing calligraphy and her speech was on the nuclear family in China and the extended family in Uganda (Africa) of which she made comparisons.
"I learnt of the cultures from my Chinese teacher, and I did well with my presentation because Chinese is compulsory in our school and I also like the language," she says.
Joshua Ainebyona 14 years who was among the spectators but, totally engrossed in the competition says he too likes Chinese language and is learning it with the hope of working in China someday.
If you see our phones, laptops, computers they all come from China, I like the development in China, I want to be part of it," he says.
Why learn Chinese
The director of political section at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Uganda Fany Yi said learning Chinese is important for friendship between Uganda and China.
"It will be much easy to be friends with the 4 billion Chinese in the world when you speak the same language and also be able to deeply understand our culture, learn and benefit from," he says.
He hoped in the next few years, there will be many qualified Ugandan involved in English to Chinese translation, where they can learn a living from.
Henry Adramunguni a curriculum specialist in charge of foreign languages working for the national curriculum development center says 90 percent of commodities in Uganda are from China.
"It's better for our people to learn the language so that they can do business with the Chinese without being cheated through being lost in translation of language," he says.
What is planned
He says with plans by the National Curriculum Development Center underway, to introduce Chinese language in secondary schools they have already developed a framework for teaching it which any other foreign language can use.
"All we need now is support to develop a curriculum that can cater to the specific need of the learner, whereby the words learnt can solve their specific needs," he says.
Adramunguni says the official language (English) and National language (Kiswahili) are still a must teach in schools but students can choose to either learn the indigenous language if their ambition is to be home based.
Or the students can choose to learn a foreign language Chinese included if their ambition is to be global based.
The Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University Hong Yonghong, says this year they have made a lot of efforts to promote Chinese teaching in secondary schools.
So far the institute is training 35 Ugandan Chinese teachers. In May, a Ugandan education delegation also traveled to china to gain experience about teaching Chinese in China.
In September, the institute will hold the first secondary schools camp to China where 20 schools will perform at the 60t anniversary of Xiangtan University.
These efforts are all aimed at having many Ugandan school going Children, study the Chinese language and take part in the Chinese Bridge Competition.
Last year the two top winners of the in Uganda travelled to China to take part in the final bridge competition.
This year the first position went to Sooma Namuhanga and the second position was scooped by Joshua Haliyamuntu both students at Luyanzi College who will travel to China to take part in the final bridge competition.
The winners were presented with an assortment of goods that involved travel suitcases, back bags, water flasks and certificates.
The Chinese Bridge Competition started in 2002. This is the second time the completion is being held for secondary school students in Uganda.