The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training recently launched officially the Chinese language program in six pilot secondary schools, the move that aimed at meeting the need of market demands as innovation of science and technology is at stake.
Launching the program, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Leonard Akwilapo, said the program started in January this year, and it has come at a right time when the country is in need of a new innovation of science and technology.
“It is through mastering of Chinese language, that our young boys and girls will be able to acquire knowledge and skills through utilization of the scholarship opportunities offered by the Chinese government annually,” he said.
He said the pilot program started with Zanaki and Benjamin Mkapa secondary schools in Dar-es-Salaam, Kilakala and Morogoro in Morogoro and in Dodoma are Kiwanja cha Ndege and Dodoma Secondary school. Already 12 Chinese language teachers from China have completed a teaching methodology course on how to teach the subject in the six selected secondary schools. The course has started with Form One and Form Five students in the pilot schools whereas they will review to see if there are any challenges that need improvement before the program goes nationwide.
He said there has been a growing demand of knowledge of the Chinese language taking into account the trade relations between the two countries thus having communication skills experts are vital.
Dr Akwilapo said they want to have a good number of teachers who will teach after the volunteers leave the country, therefore with the Confucius Institute of China, they have special programs to train the teachers at University of Dodoma (UDOM), University of Dar-es-Salaam Muslim University of Morogoro. He noted further that the students would be examined in the Chinese language subject and graded like any other subject taught in secondary schools, such as French and German.
On his part, the Cultural Counselor at the Chinese Embassy, Mr Gao Wei, said they will make sure they train the needed local teachers to make the program sustainable. He commended cooperation and assistance received from both Tanzania and Chinese government and respective ministries, to enable implementation of the program in the six secondary schools.
Recent years have seen a growth in partnerships between Tanzania and China, with Chinese experts and other personnel being involved in almost all development sectors, ranging from construction to petty trading.