TechInAfrica – Kenya has been serious to improve its economy through international trade and investment. In the local community, the country also tries to boost entrepreneurship and innovations by the use of technology. In terms of strengthening job competitiveness and relationship with China, Kenya is planning to teach Mandarin Chinese to elementary school students by 2020.
Kenya’s Curriculum Development Institute (KCID) explained that they have designed and completed the Mandarin syllabus and will be implemented in 2020. The language will be taught to primary school students from grade four and onwards. The idea to teach students Mandarin is due to the global rise of Mandarin and to strengthen economic and political connections between the two countries.
“The place of China in the world economy has also grown to be so strong that Kenya stands to benefit if its citizens can understand Mandarin,” said the Head of the Agency, Julius Jwan.
The same action was previously preceded by the neighbor country, South Africa in 2014 and will be followed by Uganda as it’s planning to teach Mandarin to high school students. In Kenya, Mandarin will be taught alongside local languages and other foreign languages, such as Arabic and French.
The idea of introducing Mandarin to students received support from Beijing for these past years. Some Chinese scholars helped to develop the courses while scholarships to study in China were offered to Kenyan graduate students.
The plan is beneficial to China as it has lent the country billion dollars to build a railway between two major cities, hosted cultural festivals, and other construction projects. Long before Mandarin was taught in African countries, China set up the first Confucius Institute in Africa at the University of Nairobi.