Ambassador: Swahili teaching in Russia to strengthen ties

TANZANIA: THE recent move by Russia to teach Kiswahili language in its primary schools will further strengthen relations between Tanzania and the country, Russia Ambassador to Tanzania, Andrey Avetisyan, has said.

Making the revelation in Dar es Salaam recently, Ambassador Avetisyan further said Russia has become the first European country to teach the Africa language after Chinese in public schools countrywide.

“Learning this language will cement relations and motivate Russians to visit Africa, particularly Tanzania to interact with the people, invest and promote businesses, which make all win in their activities.

He noted that the drive as a pilot study is in line with supporting Tanzanian government goal of promoting Kiswahili internationally so that both sides learn a lot the culture of one another and promote what brings them together with ease.

He added: “We have a long history of studying Kiswahili in Russia and currently students of five major universities in Russia can master Kiswahili upon graduation and can write or communicate with ease. The next important step was made when several Moscow schools introduced Kiswahili into their curriculum. It is a kind of pilot project and with time, Kiswahili will permanently find its way in the country.

“This September all public schools started teaching Kiswahili after Amharic and of course students who now start studying Kiswahili in their primary schools will easily know where Tanzania is and what means in business, tourism and boosting ties. The language will also enable them to easily get jobs in the African continent.”

In a related development he noted that as Russia also promotes teaching its language and culture in Tanzania at the Russian Cultural Centres- the drive will make both countries further understand one another, adding that with easy communication even bilateral relations ties will be enhanced.

It’s been adopted as a working language at the African Union and there’s a push for it to become Africa’s lingua franca or common language.

Kiswahili’s role as a prominent symbolic and practical language in Africa is the result of multiple factors.

This ranges from political and economic to cultural and historical. Already by the 1800s Kiswahili was being used all along the caravan trade network that crisscrossed east-central Africa.

In the centuries before this, the language had been used to formulate legal, philosophical and poetic contributions that influenced the entire Indian Ocean world.

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