East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 14 July 2016:A group of seventeen teachers from across the United States of America visited the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) in Zanzibar on Friday, 8th July, 2016. Under the ‘Summer Oman-Zanzibar Curriculum Development Program’ funded by Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, the teachers of different subjects in US primary and secondary schools and universities were at the Commission to get first hand facts about its work. The program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. In search of Facts on Kiswahili Led by Prof. Lisa Adeli, the Director of Educational Outreach for the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern, and Prof. Scott Reese, a historian of Islamic Africa at Northern Arizona University, the teachers were on a one-week academic tour of Zanzibar after visiting Oman. Their Zanzibar visit was part of a series of short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research, and advanced intensive Kiswahili language programs. The purpose of the visit was for the teachers to be provided with accurate information on Kiswahili, professional development opportunities, and materials that educators can use in their classrooms. Upon return to the US, the teachers are expected to design and develop integrated international studies curriculum into their institution’s or school system’s general curriculum. The project shall strengthen the capability and performance of American education in Kiswahili language and in area and international studies. Need for Innovative Reforms and Collaborations Addressing the teachers, the Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof. Kenneth Simala, said that the East African Kiswahili Commission has a broad mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East African Partner States and beyond. Focusing specifically on Kiswahili Teacher Education, Prof. Simala explained that the Commission is working with stakeholders in addressing the urgent need for Kiswahili Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at all levels of education in the region. Prof. Simala lauded the teachers for their choice of Kiswahili as their preferred modern language of training, research, and curriculum development. Saying that Kiswahili is the most popular African language of study in the US, the Executive Secretary called for collaboration and partnerships in areas of staff and student exchange programmes, research, publication and dissemination. Singling out the Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center sponsorship of the study tour, Prof. Simala implored the organisers and sponsors to consider `working with the East African Kiswahili Commission in educating a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens of the United States, Oman and East Africa about the breadth and richness of their cultures. He informed the teachers that the history of Kiswahili is closely interwoven with that of the Middle East, especially Oman.
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For more information, please contact: Executive Secretary East African Kiswahili Commission Tel: +255 242 232 704 email: isimala [at] eachq.org About the East African Kiswahili Commission: The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.