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Mandarin education in Uganda makes progress
Updated: 2019-01-09 08:06:31
( Xinhua )

[Provided to China Daily]

WAKISO, Uganda-While singing traditional Chinese folk songs and giving kung fu performances, Uganda's first batch of Chinese-language teachers celebrated their graduation in Wakiso on Dec 20.

A total of 33 teachers graduated, 29 of whom passed proficiency Level 4, meaning that they can easily communicate in Mandarin without the help of an interpreter.

They will teach Chinese in secondary schools. Their graduation laid the foundation for the language's teaching in the East African country on a large scale.

"We have learned a lot about Chinese culture," says Jackeline Akello, who's one of the new teachers.

Qian Mingmin, one of the Chinese instructors, says the students have acquired the necessary skills for teaching Chinese in local schools.

She says they'll do follow-ups on the new teachers after they are assigned to their posts.

Uganda's first batch of Chinese-language teachers celebrate their graduation with various performances in Wakiso on Dec 20. [Provided to China Daily]

When schools open for a new term, the 33 teachers will teach Chinese in their designated schools. This will also start Chinese learning as the sixth language in the country's secondary-school curricula.

Grace Baguma, director of Uganda's National Curriculum Development Center, says another group of 40 language teachers from 40 different schools will be trained for nine months.

"We have the syllabus ready. Instruction materials are ready, and now the teachers have been trained," says Baguma, adding that by the end of the next four years, more than 60,000 students will have learned how to speak Mandarin.

Oswald Ndoleriire, Ugandan director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, says the university will roll out a bachelor's degree program on Chinese and Asian studies starting in 2019, a move aimed at encouraging the study of Chinese and Asian cultures.

He adds that a master's program in Chinese and Asian studies as well as one in Chinese-language teaching will be unveiled soon.

"We all know the great strides that the Asian continent has made and how much we can learn," Ndoleriire says.

Uganda's first batch of Chinese-language teachers celebrate their graduation with various performances in Wakiso on Dec 20. [Provided to China Daily]

Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament, says in a speech read on her behalf at the graduation that Uganda needs to place itself strategically as China and Africa deepen cooperation, and prepare its personnel in both government and the private sector to be fluent in Chinese

"This is a key way we can strengthen Uganda-China friendship and ably negotiate for better opportunities, especially in trade and investment, social interactions and mutual cooperation," Kadaga says.

Zheng Zhuqiang, China's ambassador to Uganda, says that there is an urgent need to break the language barrier as Uganda deepens its economic ties with China.

"While many Chinese in Uganda can speak English, it is difficult to find a Ugandan who can speak Chinese well," Zheng says.

"To narrow this deficit and cater to Ugandans' needs of learning Chinese, the Chinese government supports both sides in making this training a success."

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