The Ugandan government has named 35 secondary schools countrywide where the Chinese language will be taught starting next year.
Esther Mbayo, the Presidency minister, said the decision to teach Chinese was informed by increasing trade and the growing friendship between the two countries.
The Ministry of Education’s National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) selected the schools.
At least 35 teachers, who have been studying the Chinese language for the last nine months, will be posted to the schools in the five regions.
In the central region, where the capital Kampala is located, 11 schools will rollout the language subject, with eight in western, seven in eastern, northern with five and the West Nile with four.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony of the trainers at Luyanzi College in Wakiso District in central region, on Thursday, Ms 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 thereafter.
This brings the number of international language subjects taught in Uganda to six. The others are English, French, Arabic, Latin and German.
“We hope the schools will comply. We hope to increase the number of schools with time,” Ms Baguma added.
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 2019/20 academic year, the institution will have a bachelor's degree programme in the Chinese language and culture.
“We have been part of this course and will continue to support it. We will introduce the master’s degree with time,” said Prof Hisali, who spoke on behalf of Vice-Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe.