By John Ikani
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has issued a directive to the country’s education authorities to swiftly introduce Swahili language into the national school curriculum.
The objective behind this move is to facilitate easier business communication with Swahili-speaking countries.
President Chakwera made this announcement during a televised joint news briefing with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, after they discussed strategies to strengthen bilateral relations between their nations.
During the briefing, President Chakwera stated, “I am delighted to inform everyone that I have shared the exciting news of my administration’s decision to incorporate language studies into our educational system, with the aim of fostering stronger ties between Malawi and Swahili-speaking sister countries such as Tanzania. The Ministry of Education has been instructed to implement this policy promptly.”
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was on a three-day visit to Malawi, was invited as the guest of honor during Malawi’s 59th independence anniversary celebrations in Lilongwe.
In response to President Chakwera’s announcement, President Hassan assured reporters that Tanzania would extend full support to Malawi in implementing Swahili language programs.
She emphasized, “On Kiswahili [Swahili], my brother has articulated it well. I appreciate the decision you have made. Tanzania is fully committed to providing all necessary resources to ensure Kiswahili is taught in Malawi schools. We are prepared for this.”
What you should know
Tanzania, being predominantly Swahili-speaking, is one of the neighboring countries where many Malawian traders source their goods, including clothing and motor vehicle spare parts.
The high cost of Swahili language interpreters has been a concern for Malawian traders.
By incorporating Swahili into the curriculum, it is expected that the need for interpreters will diminish, thereby reducing costs and fostering smoother business transactions.
While it remains unclear whether Swahili lessons will be compulsory in Malawi, this proactive step by President Chakwera’s administration reflects a commitment to promoting cultural exchange, regional integration, and facilitating enhanced economic cooperation with Swahili-speaking nations.