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BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang (right) meets with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Defense Raychelle Omamo in Beijing, capital of China, April 20, 2017. XINHUA PHOTO
Kenya says on course to embed Mandarin in school curriculum

NAIROBI (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 primary schools.

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 sustainability.

“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.

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