Most people would find it unusual for JKUAT to be associated with success in disciplines dealing with arts and social sciences. Worry not if you’re among them. This is not because of lack of ability to succeed in these crucial areas, but because since time immemorial, the University has been reputable for its unique position as being a trendsetter in Technology, Agriculture and mostly Science-related disciplines. This rightful position of being the first among equals in the global landscape remains, but the University has much more to offer, with the management and stakeholders always bearing in mind that the best gift to the society and corporate world is an all inclusive system that churns out holistic graduates in all spheres of life. The recent bagging of three prestigious awards by JKUAT students in the 9th Japanese Language Speech Contest held at the Japanese embassy late last month speaks volumes towards these noble efforts.
The annual contest attracted about 170 participants across the country and was organized by the Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC), The Japan Foundation (JF) and the Japanese Language Teachers Association of Kenya (JALTAK). The contest, that was officiated by the Embassy of Japan’s Deputy of Mission, Mr. Mikio Mori and Ambassador Dennis Awori, saw the winner of the first prize, second position and a special award all go to JKUAT students. The first prize went to Ruth Gathoni, second prize to Joseph Kimani, and a special award to Hope Mworia. The Chairperson of JALTAK Kenya, Mr. Katsuji Nakamura, while giving the closing remarks at the awards ceremony, indicated that the productive efforts portrayed by JKUAT in the foreign languages sector is something to be aped by other institutions.
The Centre for Foreign Languages and Linguistics is located in JKUAT’s main campus, Juja and offers comprehensive courses in Chinese, Japanese, German and French. It also offers bridging courses in English and Kiswahili. The Chair of the Centre, Mr. Edward Miringu, attributes the significant milestones the centre has achieved so far to the fact that the courses are built around the internationally recognized Common European Framework of languages and as well as the presence of highly motivated and resourceful teaching staff.
The importance of learning a foreign language cannot be overemphasized. The benefits run from improved employability, to improved brain health, increased opportunities for further studies abroad just to mention a few. Perhaps among the key benefits is increased employability. Let’s say you have attained your Engineering, Journalism, Computer , Law or Agriculture degree, or even Masters. Then an opportunity strikes, a well paying job in Rwanda, DRC, France or even in China. What happens when all you can speak is English and Kiswahili, and maybe, since we’re Kenyans, very little of your mother tongue? In today’s business-dominated society, being bilingual gives you a competitive edge when searching for jobs, or even maintaining your current employment!
One needs not mention that a host of international business enterprises from Europe, China and Asia are increasingly setting base in Africa. By learning a second language, you therefore not only increase your cognitive abilities but also your opportunities for getting employed. Anywhere. And guess what? Achieving this milestone is well within your reach! The JKUAT Centre for Foreign Languages and Linguistics is no doubt on a clear well-focused path towards making this a reality and even achieving more yet to be imagined heights of massive success. Do not be afraid to join this formidable linguistic dynasty.