Need to learn Chi­nese

ChinAfrica - - Africa Report -

But un­like Mabisi, who has to pay for his lan­guage tu­ition, Ugan­dan stu­dents in sec­ondary schools are to be taught Chi­nese free. The Ugan­dan Gov­ern­ment an­nounced last year that Chi­nese would be in­cluded in the for­eign lan­guages taught in high schools.

So why is the Chi­nese lan­guage mak­ing such in­roads in Uganda?

In the re­cent past, thou­sands of Chi­nese busi­ness­men and engi­neers work­ing for Chi­nese con­struc­tion com­pa­nies came to Uganda and other African coun­tries, where their pres­ence and in­flu­ence is hav­ing an ever-in­creas­ing im­pact on the lo­cals through cui­sine, cul­ture and lan­guage.

Ac­cord­ing to Ken Okello from the Ugan­dan Min­istry of Trade, In­dus­try and Co­op­er­a­tives, this Chi­nese in­flu­ence can­not be un­der­rated. “Many Chi­nese are open­ing busi­nesses in Uganda, both in cap­i­tal Kam­pala and other cities. They are run­ning shops, su­per­mar­kets, fac­to­ries and trans­port units. In ad­di­tion, they are con­struct­ing roads,” Okello said.

As some of them do not know English, they pre­fer em­ploy­ing lo­cals with some Chi­nese lan­guage skills. Also, many Ugan­dan traders now reg­u­larly travel to China to buy items to sell at home. They mostly im­port tex­tiles, build­ing ma­te­ri­als, elec­tronic goods and toys.

“Ugan­dans who go to trade in China want to learn some ba­sic Chi­nese to deal with the peo­ple from whom they buy,” Okello said.

Si­mon Mu­jizi from the Ugan­dan Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Sports said an­other rea­son for Ugan­dans learn­ing Chi­nese is that stu­dents who have com­pleted high school are in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing uni­ver­si­ties in China.

“There are some Ugan­dans cur­rently study­ing in uni­ver­si­ties in China. Many oth­ers want to join them but in some uni­ver­si­ties, it is a pre­req­ui­site to be flu­ent in Chi­nese. That is one of the rea­sons why many young peo­ple are study­ing Chi­nese,” Mu­jizi said.

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