Starting next year, standard four pupils and above will be taught Chinese as part of the optional foreign languages.

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO, Mr. Julius Jwan said that this move comes was to improve job competitiveness and facilitate better trade and connection between Kenya and China. He revealed that the design, scope, and sequence of the Mandarin syllabus is ready for roll-out sometime in 2020.

“The place of China in the world economy has also grown to be so strong that Kenya stands to benefit if its citizens learn Mandarin. Beginning 2020, we will commence teaching Mandarin as a foreign language from grade four for pupils who wish to learn the Asian language,” he said.

Mr. Jwan noted that Mandarin will be optional in the new syllabus just like other foreign languages. He added that the syllabus for the foreign languages is already complete. He revealed that 35 schools have been selected for the first phase of the project and 100 teachers have also been trained to teach Mandarin.

Mandarin will be among other foreign languages that the students can choose to learn, including French, Arabic and German. Kenya is following footsteps of other African nations that have already started teaching Chinese in their schools.In 2014, South Africa started teaching Mandarin while a month ago, Ugandan government directed the education ministry to start teaching Mandarin in high schools as a mandatory subject.

The announcement comes a week after the Teachers Service Commission released a new curriculum which is aimed at improving competence in other areas of study; languages, technology, psychomotor, creative arts, mathematics, environment, business, and religious education.