Students of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University pose for a group photo after performing at an event celebrating the 5th anniversary of the founding of the institute, in Kampala, Uganda, Nov. 23, 2019. Confucius Institute at Makerere University, Uganda's top university, on Saturday celebrated its fifth anniversary. The institution, as the nexus of Chinese language teaching, is playing a major role for cultural exchange between Uganda and China. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)
by Ronald Ssekandi
KAMPALA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Confucius Institute at Makerere University, Uganda's top university, on Saturday celebrated its fifth anniversary. The institution, as the nexus of Chinese language teaching, is playing a major role for cultural exchange between Uganda and China.
An event featuring Chinese and Ugandan art performances and a dinner party of Chinese and Ugandan local foods was staged at the university.
Mary Karoro, minister in charge of general duties at the Office of Prime Minister said China has opened up its doors for a shared development with the rest of the world.
She said ignoring or failing to understand China would be detrimental to Uganda, a country that seeks to fast track its development.
"I hope Ugandans open their eyes to the opportunities of learning this foreign language, which is not just a foreign language but a language of opportunities," she said.
Zheng Zhuqiang, Chinese ambassador to Uganda, said Chinese language learning is becoming more and more popular in Uganda.
"We hope language-learning could promote mutual understanding of our two peoples, raise the China-Uganda Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership to a new high, and make the flowers China-Uganda friendship bloom with new splendor," Zheng said.
Xia Zhuoqiong, Chinese director at the Confucius Institute, said over the last five years, the Institute has made major achievements in promoting the Chinese language learning in Uganda.
Xia said the Institute has eight teaching centers across the country and hosts a Chinese language program on a local television channel.
A total of 17,000 have studied at the Confucius Institute and the teaching centers, and the Institute is offering trainings to local teachers, she said.
According to Xia, this year Uganda's education ministry included Chinese language in the country's school curriculum, and the first batch of local teachers are taking up their roles.
Xia said over the next several years, 500 teachers will be trained at the Institute before going to the local classrooms.
Barnabas Nawangwe, vice chancellor of Makerere University, officially launched a new program offering a bachelor degree for Chinese and Asian studies. Nawangwe said Makerere University is the first in Africa to have such a program award degrees.
He said the program will open enormous opportunities for the Chinese language students in Uganda.