Uganda (Xinhua) -- At a middle school called Everest
College in Luweero town of the Luweero district in central Uganda,
Smith Mugisha said that he already has learned the Chinese language
for nearly one year.
Customs in the Chinese culture must be
followed in Chinese language learning, just like chopsticks have to
be used when eating food, Mugisha said in a recent interview with
Mugisha is among the 500 students at
this middle school who have enrolled to learn the Chinese language.
Culture is key in learning the
language, echoed Vanessa Kawiwambe, another student at the school.
She said Ugandans need to position
themselves to reap the benefits from the increasing trade and
economic ties with China.
Kawiwambe hopes to become a lawyer in
the future and one day she will be able to provide legal services to
those Chinese companies setting foot in Uganda.
At home, Kawiwambe also teaches her
mother basic Chinese. She hopes that they both will be fluent in
speaking Chinese some day.
Angela Nyiriek, Kawiwambe’s
schoolmate, told Xinhua that she desired to be an engineer in the
future. She said she hoped to be able to work for Chinese
construction companies when she returned to her home country South
Sudan in the future.
Namisi Moses Apollo is their Chinese
language teacher. He takes them through the intonations, while they
repeat after him to perfect their skills.
Apollo is the only Chinese language
teacher at the school and there are lots of lessons scheduled for
Acknowledging the challenges in
teaching the Chinese, like lack of learning aid materials, and a
specific classroom block for the Chinese language students, he
perseveres in his efforts to widen the future prospects for the
“Understanding the Chinese culture is
going to help our people know how to deal with the Chinese people,”
Apollo himself studied Chinese when he
got a scholarship to pursue his bachelor’s degree in international
trade in China. He spent about one year at Nanjing Normal University
for the Chinese language preparatory classes before proceeding to
Liaoning University in Shenyang for his degree.
In 2013, Apollo went to Dalian
University of Foreign Languages where he obtained his Master’s
degree in Chinese language teaching. He dreams of chasing his
doctorate degree in Beijing.
Apollo is among the few Ugandans
qualified to teach the Chinese language in the country, although the
Ugandan government hopes that there will be more Chinese language
teachers in the country as it is deepening its economic and trade
ties with China.
China remains one of the main sources
of foreign direct investment in Uganda. In the last five years,
Uganda government figures show that Chinese investment grew to 3
billion U.S. dollars with a potential of creating 45,000 jobs, and
bilateral trade value in 2017 hit over 800 million dollars.
Currently, over 100 secondary school
language teachers in Uganda are taking Chinese language classes, and
35 of them are likely to acquire the skills for teaching the Chinese
The teachers will be the basic staff
as the government prepares to introduce the Chinese language
learning into school curriculum.
Yet, some private schools like Everest
College, Luyanzi College and British School of Kampala are already
teaching Chinese on their own.
Teaching the Chinese language at
Everest College is a pilot project of the Confucius Institute of
Makerere University, Uganda’s top university.
The institute has 80 university
students studying Chinese as one of their subjects for a bachelor’s
degree and over 2,000 people taking short-term courses in Chinese.
The institute management said they
planned to increase the number of Chinese language teachers to cater
for the rising demand for the Chinese language learning.