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Support Kiswahili beyond exams, experts urge State

Dr Caroline Asiimwe, principal curriculum development officer, East Africa Kiswahili Commissioner, addressed the press on October 21, 2022, at Panari hotel. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Stakeholders of Kiswahili in the region have been urged by member states to keep pushing for the formation of the language Commission. This, they said, will ensure the language is made an official communicator in their regions.

Acting Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Dr James Jowi pointed out that the Summit had endorsed Kiswahili as one of the official languages of the East Africa Community.

‘‘The Summit directed us to develop a roadmap for implementation of Kiswahili as an official language. We are here to discuss and get more input from Kenya and develop strategies and detailed roadmaps Kenya would use to implement,’’ Jowi said.

Speaking during the workshop organised by the East Africa Kiswahili Commission, which is one of the institutions of the East African Community in Nairobi, Jowi, further said the status of Kiswahili across the globe is growing rapidly.

He attributed this to the prominence used by the majority of the partner states, hence the need to have a Commission.

‘‘There is a need to push for enactment of the language as an official means of communication in most of our activities for the region’s interest,’’ he added.

Dr Caroline Asiimwe, Principal Curriculum Development Officer, East African Kiswahili Commission said each member state prioritized areas to build capacity for their citizens.

‘‘We are here to work on the implementation plan for Kenya. We picked this from the capacity building assessment report from each member state with Kenya picking their domains and views from stakeholders collected across the country. Some of the inputs have already started being put in place and will be part of the implementation plan,’’ Asiimwe said.  

Asiimwe further said parliamentarians are on capacity building on other entities including education, to know what is required to give their support.

‘‘When it comes to basic education, tertiary or university education, where is the gap? We are teaching children Kiswahili but we don’t see it being used beyond examinations,’’ she said.

Chairperson Chama Cha Kiswahili Cha Taifa-Kenya and a lecturer at Moi University, Prof Mosol Kandagor said with the Commission in place, all other issues will fall into place.

‘‘Once we have the council, all other things will fall in place. We will see all government officials use Kiswahili from the executive, judiciary and legislature,’’ Kandagor said.

 Elizabeth Nasubo, Deputy Director, of the Ministry of Culture said the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture are working together to ensure that Kiswahili becomes an official language.

‘‘The ministry has developed a legal framework which is still in the draft to institutionalise the management of Kiswahili under the National Kiswahili Council. The legal framework on national languages of Kenya policy and national Kiswahili bill 2022 which aim to establish the council,’’ she added.