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Pundits okay Kiswahili use in interviews

Pundits okay Kiswahili use in interviews

ACADEMICIANS have hailed the government’s recommendation that job seekers should be interviewed in Kiswahili as part of efforts to promote and honour the national language.

They argued that, allowing local job seekers especially civil servants who serve ordinary citizens to express themselves in Kiswahili, will make them more confident than when they use foreign languages.

Tabling the 41.48 tri/- national budget estimates for 2022/23, Minister for Finance and Planning Dr Mwigulu Nchemba recommended that all interviews be conducted in Kiswahili.

He added that all conference halls and government offices be equipped with foreign language translation devices and interpreters in efforts to honour the national language.

 According to him Kiswahili is the national and official language and the second language in rural areas, adding that is the first language for majority of the current generation, hence, the primary language in the country.

He posed that if Kiswahili is the official language, why then should interview jobs for the nationals be conducted in English even for civil servants including extension officers who serve ordinary Tanzanians?

Commenting, University of Dar es Salaam's Institute of Kiswahili Studies Director Prof Aldin Mutembei said the purpose of conducting interviews is to test skills of the interviewees and not knowledge on a particular language.

Prof Mutembei added that it is high time that job seekers are allowed to express themselves in their widely spoken language so that they become confident in presenting their skills and knowledge during interviews.

He further said the ability of a candidate to deliver cannot be tested in communication, thus the use of Kiswahili will not affect their ability to deliver in a job.

Prof Mutembei implored the government to increase the budget allocated for the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports so as to promote Kiswahili.

“We need to invest heavily in promoting our language so that it can help to develop our economy," he said.

On his part, Dr Ahmad Sovu from Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy said the move is commendable, adding that a candidate may be well versed in something and become proficient in it, but still fails to present it due to communication challenges.

Dr Sovu noted that a large number of candidates who normally attend the civil servant interviews in the country are the people, who have studied in public primary schools where the medium of instruction is Kiswahili.

 He said that the pupils start learning in English when they go to secondary schools thus lack strong basis of English.

 “As stakeholders, we have received positively the government’s recommendation, since it will help to eliminate interview phobia and build confidence of candidates," Dr Sovu said.

Tanzania National Kiswahili Council Acting Executive Secretary Ms Consolata Mushi called upon the authorities, especially government institutions, to ensure that they implement the directives and circulars, stressing on the importance of monitoring the implementation of the directives.

She further urged Tanzanians to be proud of their language which has grown internationally and widely spoken.

"Initially there was a problem in the court system…it is currently used for judgment and we are grateful for the development ... we call upon the government to consider the use of the language in other sectors such as health where prescriptions should be written in Kiswahili," Ms Consolata said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had declared every 7th of July as the World Kiswahili Language Day during its 41st Member States’ session held in Paris, France on November 23, 2021.

Kiswahili is a lingua franca in the African Great Lakes region, as well as in East and Southern Africa, and the most widely spoken language with more than 200 million people within and outside the continent the thing that enabled it to become the tenth most used language globally.

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Author: SAMWEL MWALONGO

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