Embrace Chinese language – Education Minister

First lady Janet Museveni
Kampala minister Hon. Betty Kamya represented the First Lady Janet Museveni (Pictured) at the 2nd anniversary celebrations of the Founding of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University. Courtesy Photo/Janet Museveni.

The Minister of Education and Sports  also the first lady of Uganda, Janet Museveni has called on Ugandans to embrace the Chinese language in schools to be able to enjoy the opportunities in the employment sector and trade.

Speaking at the second anniversary celebrations of the Founding of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University on Saturday night, the Minister for Kampala, Betty Olive Namisango Kamya representing the first lady said that studying Chinese language will increase students’ opportunities to employment world.

“I am concerned about the graduates we produce, the way they are taught, and their readiness to solve challenges we face as a country. We know that many graduates join the job market every year with degrees from various tertiary institutions in Uganda,” Janet Museveni said in her message.

Adding that; “In fact, next week thousands will graduate here and will join the job market for which they are not properly prepared. Their jobs lie in the choices they make, the subjects they choose to study like Chinese which are full of opportunities.”

Janet Museveni said that learning the Chinese language becomes a bonus for a job. She noted that since government was in advanced stages of including Chinese as one of the foreign languages in the new curriculum, there will need teachers of Chinese language in schools.

“It is indeed evident Chinese companies are winning most of the construction tenders here and upon winning them, they need Ugandan engineers, sociologists, translators and interpreters to work with them. Therefore learning the language will be a bonus for that job,” Janet Museveni said.

In the past two years, the Confucius institute by joint collaboration between Makerere University and Xiangtan University in china, more than 3000 Ugandan students have been registered to learn Chinese and Chinese culture.

Speaking at the celebration, Prof. Zhou Yichun the Chinese director of the Uganda of the Confucius Institute who is also the president Xiangtang University said that the Chinese the institute was one of the most important result of the cooperation between Uganda through Makerere and Xiangtang University.

“I remember when we first expressed our wish and intention to set a Confucius Institute in Africa, many people questioned us, “Why Uganda? Why Makerere? I think you must have been asked a similar question in a rather obvious and satisfying manner,” Prof. Zhou said.

Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor said that the university had already incorporated the teaching of Chinese language in degree programs. Adding that in next year’s graduation ceremony, Makerere will for the first time have students graduating in Chinese language as one of the subjects under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Ugandan Director of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire highlighted that since the Chinese government was still willing to support the institute to have many speakers of Chinese language, every Ugandan should take the opportunity to learn since the benefits were many.

He added that many Ugandans doing business with China have experienced a number of challenges resulting out of lack of knowledge of the Chinese language. He notes that due to this, many Ugandan businessmen are cheated while transacting.

Prof. Ndoleriire noted that there is only one Ugandan with masters in Chinese language at the institute which makes it lucrative for Ugandans interested in learning to join due to availability of various scholarships.

Adding that while there were few Ugandan teachers of Chinese, the Chinese government was willing to send more teachers at all levels to boost the training. He said that many Ugandans have a perception that the language is difficult which is wrong.

– Uganda Radio Network