American Teachers on a working visit to the East African Kiswahili Commission in Zanzibar

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.  

East Africa Kiswahili Commission holds strategic meetings in Nairobi

East African Kiswahili Commission; Nairobi, Kenya; 28 June 2016:The Principal Secretary (PS), State Department of East African Community Integration, Ministry of EAC, Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kenya Ms. Betty Maina has lauded Kiswahili stakeholders in East Africa for championing the development and use of the language in regional integration. Addressing participants at the official opening of a two-day Validation Workshop for the Strategic Plan of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) on Thursday, 23rd June 2016 at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, Ms. Maina commended delegates drawn from all the EAC Partner States for using Kiswahili to sensitize the citizenry on the integration process and progress. Noting that Kiswahili is an integral part of the integration project and sustainable development for the region, the PS called for concerted efforts to support the Commission. The PS called on the stakeholders to distil specific actionable areas that would have visible and tangible results that will be applicable and presentable to the public and other stakeholders. She challenged the stakeholders to brainstorm on possible sources of alternative funding to facilitate and enhance staff expansion and infrastructural development. She reminded the Commission that while considering request for supplementary budget, it should go beyond traditional funding and think about alternative resource mobilization. The Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof Kenneth Simala assured participants of the Commission’s commitment to executing its mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East Africa and the diaspora, where Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African language. The Validation Workshop was closed on Friday 24th June, 2016 by Mr. Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Arts and Culture; Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts who noted that Kiswahili is quickly becoming a Pan-African language of identity. He urged stakeholders to take the lead in promoting the development and use of Kiswahili. The Validation Workshop was the third in a week-long series of meetings organized by the EAKC to discuss effective operationalization and implementation of its mandate. The workshops were attended by over 143 delegates from across the Community.   University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme The first workshop on Monday, 20th June, 2016 was on the theme ‘University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange in the EAC and Beyond’ and was attended by Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili and Graduate Students from both public and private universities. Specific objectives of the Workshop were: To initiate linkages for students and staff exchange Programmes among East African Universities and beyond. A second objective was to establish stakeholders associations at national and regional levels as drivers of the first goal.   On Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation On 21st – 22nd June, 2016, EAKC in partnership with DAAD Regional Office in Nairobi held a workshop on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’. Facilitated by distinguished scholars from across the region, the workshop also had presentations made by teachers of Kiswahili, media practitioners, government officials and DAAD alumni from EAC Partner States. Sharing experiences and learning from best practices, stakeholders at the workshop observed that the fast pace of globalization and regionalization has resulted in internalization of education and the need for staff and student mobility in East Africa and beyond. Among the key milestones of the workshop are: a Report; Mentorship Programme of DAAD Alumni for Kiswahili Scholars and Students; Roadmap on East African University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme; National Associations of University Departments of Kiswahili; Association of East African Kiswahili media Practitioners.   Milestones and deliverables At the end of the Workshop, the following milestones were achieved:
  1. Draft Policy on University Kiswahili Staff-Student Exchange Programme in East Africa and beyond;
  2. Linkages initiated between staff and students of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  3. National Associations of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  4. East African Association of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili at Universities;
  5. National Associations of Kiswahili Media Operators in East Africa;
  6. East African Association of Kiswahili Media Operators;
  7. Workshop Report on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’.
  8. Workshop Proceedings from Facilitators (to be edited into a ten-chapter book)
  9. Validated EAKC Strategic Plan (2016/7 -2020/1);
  10. Report of the Validation Workshop.
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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 Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

East African Kiswahili Commission
Maisara Street
P.O. Box 600
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: +255 024 2232704/
+255 024  2232722
katibumtendaji@kiswacom.org
katibu.tume@kiswacom.org