KAMPALA– Makerere University is moving to launch a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and Asian studies amid fast-growing concern about China’s stake in Uganda and Africa at large.
According to Prof Aaron Mushengyezi, the Dean School of Languages, Literature, and Communication, the course will be launched in the 2019/2020 academic year that translates to next year in August.
According to officials, the course will be a three-year program and shall see the best students travel to China as a means of intensifying the study of the course and training tutors for the said program.
According to Prof. Mushengyezi, the program is important and will be a success because currently, Makerere is teaching the subject of Chinese which is offered on the Bachelor of Arts degree.
“This means a student has to combine Chinese with another subject which as the institute thought it was not good enough. There is a lot to learn from China and from the Asian continent as a whole,” he acknowledged.
He also noted that China is poised to be the leading economy in the world, for this time, having been the largest single foreign direct investor in Africa and Uganda.
In support of the program, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the University Vice Chancellor noted that Chinese businesses are setting up companies in Uganda that have a growing demand for workers.
“There is a huge demand in the business sector to trade with China because most of the Ugandan Imports come from China, hence there is a growing need for Ugandans who can speak Chinese both for business, diplomacy and also for those who want to study abroad,” Prof Nawangwe said.
So far 15 Ugandans students have been sent to Xiangtan University for a one year course in Chinese language and it is from them that some will be selected to be the pioneer tutors. Next year more 30 students will be sent and among these some will go for masters and even PhDs.
Chinese Institute of Public Safety Research at Tsinghua University recently announced plans to build a forensic laboratory at Makerere University that will help the institution and the country detect sophisticated crime.