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As trade ties grow, Uganda picks 35 schools for Chinese classes



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The Ugandan government has named 35 secondary schools countrywide where the teaching of the Chinese language will be introduced.

Presidency minister Esther Mbayo said the decision to teach Chinese was informed by increasing trade and the growing friendship between the countries.

The Ministry of Education’s National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) selected the schools for the programme that will be rolled out next year.

At least 35 teacher trainers, who learned the Chinese language for the last nine months, will be posted to the institutions spread across the country’s five regions.

Central region has the highest representation with 11 schools, followed by western with eight, eastern with seven, northern with five and the West Nile with four.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony of the trainers at Luyanzi College in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District, on Thursday, Presidency minister Esther Mbayo said the government was ready to start the classes.

“We have received materials such as textbooks and illustrations. We have also received some tutors from the Chinese government,” she said.

Ms Grace Baguma, the director of the NCDC, said the Chinese subject will be compulsory for Senior One and Senior Two students and optional for Senior Three and other upper classes.

This brings the number of international subjects taught in Uganda to six, the others being English, French, Arabic, Latin and German.

“We hope the schools will comply. We hope to increase the number of schools with time,” Ms Baguma said.

Responding to the question of sustainability of the programme, the director said two more groups of teachers will be trained in the next two years so that the number goes to 100.

“Thirty more teachers will be trained while the last group will have 40. They will still be [deployed] all over the country,” she said.

Ms Baguma added that Makerere University will introduce a bachelor’s degree course for more qualified teachers.

Prof Eria Hisali, from the College of Business and Management at Makerere, said that by years 2019/20, the institution will have a bachelor’s degree programme in the Chinese language and culture.

“We have been part of this cause and will continue to support it. We will introduce the master’s degree with time,” said Mr Hisali, who spoke on behalf of Vice-Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe,