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Uganda Mulls First Ever Chinese, Asian Degree Course in University

Confucius Institute and Makerere University in Uganda’s capital Kampala on Friday conducted a bench marking event for the introduction of Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies (BCAS) degree course which is expected to start in 2018/19 academic year, which begins in August.

The half day event jointly conducted by Confucius Institute and Makerere University School of Languages, Literature and Communication to fast track the BCAS program attracted different government officials and a multitude of stakeholders.

Oswald Ndoleriire, Ugandan Confucius Institute director said the programme to be housed in the department of European and Oriental languages will provide students with a certified proficiency in Mandarin and competence in understanding its linguistic, cultural and literacy aspects.

He said alongside the teaching of the language, the students will also be exposed to the political and socio-cultural economic dynamics of the Asian societies in the past and in contemporary times.

“There will be development, cultural and social skills that will be imparted through this program which will contribute to changing the student outlook towards national, regional and global issues,” said Ndoleriire.

Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zheng Zhuqiang in a statement said the embassy will support the initiative to introduce the degree course.

“The embassy is willing to provide various necessary support within its capacity once this program is launched,” Zheng said.

Hong Yonghong, Chinese Confucius Institute director said the initial target is to admit 150 day and 150 evening students for the three academic years program of two semesters each.

Josephine Ahikire, deputy principal of college of humanities and social sciences at Makerere University said the college will offer all the necessary support to make sure the university senate approves the degree course.

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“We shall support the program throughout all the approval stages to ensure it succeeds,” said Ahikire.

The University Senate and National Council of Higher Education are supposed to vet and approve the program before it is officially launched in August.

Martin Osuban, assistant commissioner for government secondary education at ministry of education and sports said the ministry has embraced the program.

“We trust that after our students begin to learn Chinese, they will be better graduates with relevant skills and great opportunity because they appreciate diversity, able to fit in the world place and more marketable,” said Osuban.

“Once you know a foreign language you are more competitive than somebody who doesn’t have foreign language to work with,” he said.

The commissioner said Chinese is being included as one of the foreign languages that ministry of education has adopted for the lower secondary education curriculum.

“Government appreciates foreign languages are very important because they help build diversity. Chinese is one of the international languages which is very widely spoken, China is a great economic power and Ugandans are interacting with Chinese in the fields of business and government,” said Osuban.

“Once they (students) begin to interact with the language of Chinese they are in a better position to fit into the world as individuals but also as persons who can communicate and carry effective business which many of the countries in the world are doing now,” he said.

The Confucius Institute was established in December 2014 with support from the Chinese government and Xiangtan University to offer credit courses in Chinese to Makerere University students, and short courses to staff and the general public interested in learning for all purposes.

It also is a center for promoting cultural and business ties between the peoples of Uganda and China.

 

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Written by How Africa

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