File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Call to integrate Portuguese into SA schools

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Apr 23, 2019

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The Portuguese Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities Abroad, Dr José Luis Carneiro, hopes that the memorandum of agreement to government will help integrate the language into South African primary and high schools.

There are about 200 000 Portuguese living in South Africa.

Speaking to the Cape Times during an interview, Carneiro said: “One of the most important things for our external policy is to promote the Portuguese language in the world, and we want to give all South Africans the opportunity to learn the language because it is increasing in international institutions all over the world.”

Carneiro said there were 5.7 million Portuguese across 178 countries and 260 million Portuguese-speaking people globally.

“By the end of the century the UN estimates that 500 million people will be speaking Portuguese in the world.

“In the last 10 years, for example, we passed from three universities in China offering Portuguese, to 40 universities.

“It is increasing in many continents, including Latin and South America; it is also increasing in the east coast of Africa and southern Africa in countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe.

“The procurement of the language in South Africa increased by almost 30% in 2016 and 2017 across nationalities.

“Now we are here creating the conditions and connections to create new opportunities to learn Portuguese in schools.”

Carneiro said they already had teachers in Cape Town teaching the language and that their government could enhance this offering and train local teachers.

He said they had also started a dialogue with the City of Cape Town to establish a protocol between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City aimed at creating a new institutional understanding about the importance of the diaspora.

Carneiro recently returned from Mozambique, following cyclone Idai, where the Portuguese government sent medics, troops and air support to assist the Mozambican government and promote the reconstruction of their consulate services and other infrastructures, including schools and hospitals that were destroyed in the disaster.

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