Botswana aims to introduce Swahili language in the southern African country’s local schools, a senior official said Tuesday. At a language teaching workshop in Francistown, Botswana’s second-largest city, Fidelis Molao, Botswana’s Minister of Basic Education, said that the Swahili language will be introduced in schools in the future.
Swahili is a Bantu language widely spoken in the Great Lakes region and other parts of eastern and south-eastern Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and parts of Malawi. If introduced, Swahili will be the first African language from outside the boundaries of the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region will be one of the major trading partners with many Swahili-speaking countries in the near future, which Botswana needs most as it is vying for an export-led economy, Molao said.
English, French, and Portuguese are the three languages currently used by the SADC
Recently, Rwanda joined the chorus to teach Swahili in its schools as an official langue in the country, said Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu. The minister added that the law was passed as an obligation to the EAC and also as an opportunity to benefit in the region.
“Swahili as an official language is, on one hand, fulfilling what we are required to do as a member country but, on the other hand, it’s a way to increase the benefits that Rwandans can reap from economic integration.” Said Ms Uwacu With the East African passport kicking off January this year, the bill was passed without going through standing committees for further reviews.
“We are going to introduce a curriculum and teaching material and we will definitely take advantage of the relationship that we have with other partner states who already use the language,” the minister said, according to CTGN Africa. Minister Uwacu elaborated that the Presidential order will give the details on when the language will be incorporated in school curriculum. Meanwhile South Africa is also introducing Swahili into its schools, also.
Main Photo: Botswana Scool Kids, /Project Concern International