Cabinet approves formation of Kiswahili council

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Ofwono Opondo

Cabinet sat on Monday September 9th 2019 at State House, Entebbe, and; approved the Principles for the establishment of the Uganda National Kiswahili Council.

The main objectives of the Council are; to guide the planning process, implementation of interventions and allocation of recourses to the usage and development of Kiswahili as a Lingua franca.

According to government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, the council will also ensure that the policy, legal and institutional framework are in place through setting standards for effective promotion, development and usage of Kiswahili at all levels.

It will provide harmonisation, coordination and collaboration among MDAs and stakeholders in the promotion, use and development in Uganda through registration of all the stakeholders in Kiswahili.

It will also enhance the capacity of duty-bearers to provide Kiswahili services and resources.

In November 2018, the East African Community Kiswahili commission asked Government to harmonise the development and use of Kiswahili to ensure regional integration and sustainable development.

Professor Kenneth Inyani Simala the East African Kiswahili Commission Executive Secretary made this request while officiating at the Regional Kiswahili experts meeting held at the Inter- University Council for East Africa headquarters.

Article137 (2) of the East African Community treaty states that Kiswahili shall be developed as a lingua franca of the community to support sustainable development and regional integration unfortunately some member states have failed to adhere to the agreement.

“It is unfortunate that there is slowness in implementation of the treaty that it is only Tanzania that has the Kiswahili Council but other member states are still failing to set up the facility which would be promoting the language,” Simala observed.

Simala appealed to partner states to show commitment in promoting Kiswahili within the region.

“Each member state should be committed towards promoting Kiswahili. The language should be taught in primary, secondary and university level because teaching of Kiswahili is central to the harmonisation of education across the East African Community,” Simala advised.

In Kenya and Tanzania, pupils are taught in Kiswahili, while English is taught as a mere subject; in Uganda, English is the major medium of instruction and Kiswahili is taught in a few schools while Burundi and Rwanda hardly have Kiswahili in their schools.

The late Eriya Kategaya the then minister of East African Affairs in 2011, issued a directive that by 2012, Kiswahili, as a language, be taught and examined compulsorily in Ugandan institutions of learning right from primary level.

Kiswahili experts agreed that Kiswahili should be a major consideration in the efforts to harmonise education within the East African Community states, this they noted would promote peaceful resolution of conflicts, unity, life skills and economic growth within the region.

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