Kenya’s relation with China is expected to be strengthened as the new education curriculum seeks to introduce Mandarin as one of the subjects taught at primary schools.
The curriculum further sought to inculcate national diversity as children from different ethnic communities will be given a chance whether to study other indigenous languages or not. The Mandarin language is the official language of China, Taiwan, and Singapore.
The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development director Julius Jwan said the agency had chosen Mandarin among other languages to help students communicate effectively in diverse contexts.
“The language is part of the five foreign languages to be taught as an optional subject in the larger curriculum review process and we have already received good support from the Chinese embassy and the University of Nairobi Confucius Institute,” he said.
The KICD also said that the training of the personnel to teach the language will be done by Nairobi and Kenyatta universities.
“We have seen Chinese influence in the country, and after a study, we thought it would be good for us as an institution to include it to open more opportunities, even for us in China,” Jwan said.
Kiswahili, home science, English, science and technology, mathematics, agriculture, religious education, creative arts (art craft and music), physical and health education, social studies (citizenship, geography, and history) will be taught as compulsory subjects, while foreign like languages, Arabic, French, German and Chinese will be optional.
Chinese is Currently being taught at the Nairobi, Kenyatta, Egerton and Moi universities. this subject is expected to roll-out in 2019 when the implementation of the new curriculum will be done.
The new curriculum which is Currently at its final stage after the Ministry of Education selected 470 primary schools to test the curriculum in pre- primary covering nursery, standard one, two and three.
The system is expected to be rolled out by In 2019 in standard four through to six. In January, Education stakeholders warned against the rush to pilot the new education system.
In a stakeholders’ meeting at the KICC, Nairobi, Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion said the government should not rush the implementation of the new curriculum.