Kenyan kids will start learning Mandarin in classrooms starting 2020. Kenya will join South Africa which started teaching Mandarin to school children in 2014; Uganda is coming onboard also. The government of Kenya believes, rightly, that mastering Mandarin will improve career competitiveness and cushion better trade connections with China. You cannot argue on that – it is a slam dunk when you see the impact of China in Kenya. For example, most of Kenya’s sovereign foreign debts are to Chinese government or entities.
Kenya will teach Mandarin in classrooms in a bid to improve job competitiveness and facilitate better trade and connection with China.
The country’s curriculum development institute (KICD) has said the design and scope of the mandarin syllabus have been completed and will be rolled in out in 2020. Primary school pupils from grade four (aged 10) and onwards will be able to take the course, the head of the agency Julius Jwan told Xinhua news agency. Jwan said the language is being introduced given Mandarin’s growing global rise, and the deepening political and economic connections between Kenya and China.
Yet, the question is this: if you already know one major global language that Google understands, do you really need to spend time to learn another? I do believe that in the next five years, real-time language translators will be integrated into Android, making it possible that if you can speak one major language, say English, you can communicate effectively with native Mandarin speakers, for example, without human translators.
Sure – there are many elements besides speaking that come in learning new languages. Nonetheless, I will suggest for Nigeria to prioritize coding to Nigerian kids over new foreign language as Coding in the 21st Century Global Language.
The pseudo re-colonisation is real, and African countries are always the pawns. If it’s actually for ‘competitiveness’, I guess the Chinese government should equally introduce the learning of Pigin, Igbo Hausa, Yoruba, Swahili; or is trade no longer a two-way thing?
There is no problem with learning as many languages as possible, some do it for fun, but to make it a government policy? It’s not only Africa that does business with China, so when will both the US and German governments introduce their own Mandarin classes?
Whoever did this thing to Africans, such that their brains have accepted that they would remain third-class citizens; quite pathetic.
If Nigeria can adopt coding language at scale, better for us, that’s if the government is not already itching to introduce Mandarin here. We learned English, made French our second language, and can as well add Mandarin. The only constant is the no amount of language has been able to improve our lots.