(Xinhua) -- Kenyan ministry of education is
finalizing modalities of embedding Chinese language courses in
school curriculum, a senior official said on Thursday.
David Njeng’ere, the acting Deputy
Director in charge of basic education at Kenya Institute of
Curriculum Development (KICD) said preparations are in top gear
to introduce mandarin in primary schools across the country.
“We have already incorporated Chinese
language to be an optional subject in class four and the
first priority will be students who have demonstrated
aptitude,” Njeng’ere told Xinhua in Nairobi.
The East Africa nation announced plans
to introduce Chinese language in the school curriculum in April
2015 against a backdrop of thriving education and cultural ties
with the Asian giant.
Njeng’ere noted that efforts to
popularize Chinese language among Kenya’s children and youth
have intensified for the last two years.
“Needs assessment conducted in several
schools countrywide revealed a huge enthusiasm for mandarin
among learners, teachers and even parents,” said Njeng’ere.
He added that China’s large footprint
in Kenya’s infrastructure development has elicited a desire by
the country’s youth to study mandarin.
“There is a growing appreciation by
the country’s youth on China’s positive impact to our
economy. They are keen to study the Chinese language both
for interactions and business,” Njenge’re said.
Kenya’s curriculum development agency
has partnered with the University of Nairobi’s Confucius
institute to facilitate introduction of Chinese language in
Njeng’ere said the Confucius Institute
is providing technical support and learning materials as
introduction of mandarin in public schools gathers steam.
“We are in the early stage of
entrenching Chinese language courses in our schools and are
relying on the Confucius institute to provide teachers and
learning materials,” said Njeng’ere.
He revealed that Chinese language
courses will be rolled out in select schools to gauge its
“As you know this is an expensive
undertaking that requires adequate funds and human capital.
We will start with few schools before rolling out Chinese
language training countrywide,” Njeng’ere said.
He added that Kenya will use
internationally approved benchmarks to gauge mandarin
proficiency among primary school children.
“The students will be required to do a
Chinese language proficiency assessment test similar to that
of other foreign languages. It will help us gauge their
passion and understanding of a language that is relatively
new in Kenya,” said Njeng’ere.
He disclosed that training of teachers
who will implement the mandarin training program in primary
schools has been ongoing.