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Chinese subject to be taught in schools from 2017

By Augustine Oduor | May 7th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kakamega Hill Nursery School and Kindergarden pupils follow proceedings during Pre- Unit graduation ceremony held at their institution on 24 October 2014. They were presented with certificates to allow them join class one in 2015.[PHOTO: Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Kenya: All children enrolling for Standard One in 2017 will have an option to study the Chinese language.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) also projects that the language will be taught to all Form One students of the same year.

KICD Director Julius Jwan said the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and examination experts from China would issue certificates to students who shall have passed the language tests.

"This programme is part of the larger curriculum review process and we have already received good support from the Chinese embassy and the University of Nairobi Confucius Institute," said Dr Jwan.

He defended the introduction of Chinese subject in the Kenyan education system saying it islong overdue.

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"Chinese is one of the six United Nations languages; English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian. Only Russian and Chinese are not taught in Kenya," he said.

A strategy document seen by The Standard traces the introduction of the Chinese language to the Douglas Odhiambo Education Task Force report that recommended its teaching as one of the foreign languages alongside French and Arabic.

The report says a needs assessment carried out by KICD in collaboration with Kenyatta University to establish the viability of introducing the Language in primary and secondary schools recommended its teaching.

Course relevance

"The study focused on the relevance of introducing the language, the environment, level for introduction, content to be included in the teaching and the required resources," reads the document.

The study was conducted in some 90 schools across 16 counties.

Jwan said a draft report was taken to the course panel in March 2014 and adopted by the Academic Committee on May 20, 2014.

The study found that teaching and learning Chinese language is relevant in Kenyan Schools because it would afford employment opportunities, and also promote cross-cultural communication.

It says business and trade opportunities, tourism, education and cultural exchange would also be boosted by the Chinese language studies.

The survey recommended that the subject be introduced in Standard One and Form One as an optional study to avoid curriculum overload.

The study shall be piloted as a 3-year project.

"The preferred content to be taught encompasses the four language skills, namely; listening, speaking, writing and reading," reads the document.

Jwan yesterday said teacher-training institutions will work closely with Chinese institutions to initiate training of local Chinese language teachers.

"The idea here is to equip the teachers with the necessary skills for effective teaching and learning of the language in Kenyan schools," he said.

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