The Ugandan government has trained 35 teachers to be posted to 35 secondary schools in the five regions of the country to teach the Chinese language.

The language has been added to the secondary school curriculum as a compulsory subject forfirst and second year students next year, but optional for seniors, reports local media Daily Monitor.

The Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, announced the decision at the graduation ceremony of the selected teachers at the Luyanzi College in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District last Thursday.

She said the decision to make Chinese a subject in schools was as a result of the increasing bilateral trade and the growing friendship between the two countries, reports Daily Monitor.

“We have received starting materials such as textbooks and illustrations. We have also received some tutors from the Chinese government and we are ready to take on the programme come next year,” Mbayo added expressing readiness for the programme.

The 35 teachers were trained for nine months by Chinese instructors and have already been posted to the schools to start the lessons.

According to the director of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), Grace Baguma, about 100 teachers will be trained in the next two years to expand the curriculum to all secondary schools in the country.

She added that the Makerere University in Kampala will introduce a bachelor’s course in Chinese language and culture which will provide more teachers to sustain the curriculum.

China has huge investments in Uganda, including the establishment of several industrial parks across the east African country. The Chinese are also financiers of major infrastructure projects such as the expansion of Entebbe International Airport, the principal international airport of Uganda and the Karuma and Isimba hydropower plants.

President Yoweri Museveni recently directed the army to protect Chinese workers at industrial parks where they’ve faced a series of gang attacks.

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