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Feature: Ugandans embrace learning Chinese language

KAMPALA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of kilometers away from home, Chinese volunteers are in Uganda, teaching the Chinese language in renewed efforts to boost the cultural and trade relations between the two countries.

In Wakiso district, about 15 km east of the capital Kampala is Luyanzi College, a private school owned by a Chinese lady and her husband Ayub Sooma.

At the school some 500 secondary school students and 10 external learners are waiting for graduation in elementary Chinese language, phonetic system, Chinese characters, grammar and conversation.

With the help of the volunteers from China's Guizhou Province, it took the students three months to master the elementary stage.

"Every day we teach them to master the language slowly as they repeat the Chinese vowels and simple conversation," Tu Xi, a Chinese volunteer told Xinhua in an interview on Dec. 10.

Jimmy Dheyongera, the head-teacher of the school told Xinhua that the students can now freely express themselves in the Chinese language.

"They (learners) were trained for three months in Chinese elementary language. They can now talk, greet, ask for water and a way forward and they can bargain in any market using the Chinese language," said Dheyongera.

Luyanzi College is the first privately owned secondary school in Uganda to offer Chinese culture lessons.

"Because we feel the world is going commerce and China is an economic power and many Ugandans have brought Chinese products here but whenever they go to shop they are handicapped by the language so we hope language will help them to excel in their business," said Dheyongera.

The Chinese language is also taught at Makerere University, the country's top university.

According to the Ugandan government, learning the Chinese language and way of doing business is critical in boosting the trade relations between the two countries.

The language barrier between the two countries would be broken and doing business made simple.

Because of this, the Ugandan government has introduced the Chinese language as the latest foreign language in the country's syllabus.

Students in elementary secondary school can learn the language and later at a higher level opt whether to master in it or not.

"I really support this and it's important they are doing it in School because transforming this country's education is very important and the type of education we've been having is purely Western. Now when we move to the Eastern world I think we now have diversity for development of the economy," Sulaiman Madada, Uganda' s state minister for persons with disability, told Xinhua in an interview on Dec. 10.

To boost these efforts, the Chinese government is funding the set-up of a Chinese school which will also have an information and cultural center.

Wang Lihong, the director and proprietor of Luyanzi College, in an interview with Xinhua hailed the initiative to promote the learning of the Chinese language.

"Chinese investors are increasing in Uganda and if you know the language you increase your job opportunities," she said.

"The Chinese language will help me to conduct business with the Chinese without any difficulties or cheating," said Hope Cynthia Munguchi, Luyanzi College's best student in Chinese language.

Since 2007, Uganda Investment Authority has ranked China among the top 10 foreign investors in the East African country. So far there are over 200 Chinese firms in Uganda employing over 30,000 Ugandans.

Source: English.news.cn
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