DAR ES SALAAM, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian Ambassador to South Africa Sylvester Ambokile said on Monday South Africa has identified 90 schools across the country for teaching Kiswahili on trial basis.
"I had a meeting with South African Minister for Basic Education and her senior officials who explained to me that they will start teaching Kiswahili in 90 schools across the country on trial basis," Ambokile told Xinhua in an email.
The South African government announced last year that that schools in the country will from 2020 offer Kiswahili as an optional language for learners.
Ambokile, Tanzania's High Commissioner to South Africa since May 2017, said the teaching of Kiswahili in the southern African country will start next year with the announcement of vacancies for Kiswahili teachers.
He added: "I have written to the Ministry of Education in Tanzania and other relevant authorities informing them about the latest development."
"And since the South African Minister for Basic Education announced the move to introduce Kiswahili as a subject, we have been receiving several phone calls from people in Tanzania asking how they could grab that chance to teach Kiswahili," said Ambokile.
Authorities in Tanzania said last year they were ready to support the government of South Africa's move to teach Kiswahili in its schools.
Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Technology William Ole-Nasha said Tanzania was ready to offer South Africa Kiswahili teachers.
Ole-Nasha said the Kiswahili Council of Tanzania and the Tanzania Professional Swahili Institute were ready to grab the opportunity because they have enough teachers.
"We are aware that we will face competition from other countries, including Kenya but I am confident that many Tanzanians will be employed because we have the best Kiswahili teachers in the world," said Ole-Nasha.
Selemani Sewangi, the Secretary General of the Kiswahili Council of Tanzania, said the move by the South African government to teach Kiswahili will open employment doors for Tanzanian Kiswahili teachers.
Kiswahili is Tanzania's official language spoken by almost all Tanzanians regardless of their over 120 tribes. Kiswahili is also regarded as a unifying language in the country of more than 50 million people.
South African Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the decision to offer Kiswahili as an optional language for learners had been approved by the country's Council of Education Ministers.
She added that the language will be offered at public, private and independent schools.
"Kiswahili has the power to expand to countries that never spoke it and has the power to bring Africans together," Motshekga said.
"We are confident that the teaching of Kiswahili in South African schools will help to promote social cohesion with our fellow Africans," said Motshekga.
"It is also one of the officials languages of the African Union. We are confident that the teaching of Kiswahili in South African schools will help to promote social cohesion with our fellow Africans," she added.
Kiswahili will be the first African language, from outside South Africa, to be offered at schools.
French, German and Mandarin are among foreign languages already offered in South African schools as optional subjects.