– The KICD says Chinese is an essential language in the world of commerce and Kenyans stand to reap big if they learn it
– Apart from English, which is the language of instruction in schools, learners also have the option of studying French and German in some schools
– Swahili is also a compulsory language taught in Kenyan primary and secondary schools
– Some primary schools teach mother tongue though some stakeholders have mostly contested this
Learners in primary schools will from next year (2020) start learning the Chinese language, it has emerged.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Julius Jwan said fast-changing economic dynamics informed the move to start equipping young learners with the language.
Jwan made the remarks on Wednesday, January 9, while addressing journalists on issues about the teaching of foreign languages in schools.
The KICD boss said learning the Chinese language was strategic for boosting trade relations between Nairobi and Beijing.
This comes barely one month after sister country Uganda directed its education ministry to start teaching Chinese in secondary schools.
“Kenya would start teaching Chinese to primary school pupils from 2020. The place of China in the global economy has also grown to be so strong that Kenya stands to benefit if it’s citizens learn Mandarin,” Jwan said.
A total of 35 institutions were earmarked for the first phase of the project, and at least 100 teachers were trained in delivering the curriculum.
In Kenya, some high schools provide an option of teaching French and German languages to interested students.
It also comes a week after education ministry rolled out the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) which is set to phase out the 8-4-4 system.
The current 2-6-3-3 system has been touted as a remedy to address education and job market gaps created by 8-4-4.
Its implementation is, however, being challenged in court with petitioners claiming massive unpreparedness in its rollout.