Turkish courses flourish in Uganda and Pakistan

Along with Turkey’s rise in the international community, its language has enjoyed popularity in recent years. As more and more people take Turkish lessons, thanks in large part to the hugely popular Turkish TV series, some countries have started offering programs in Turkish.

In Pakistan, which has close ties to Turkey, public schools in the country’s largest province, Punjab, may soon offer Turkish lessons.

Ulaş Ertaş, Director of Yunus Emre Institute in Lahore, shared the latest information ahead of Turkish Language Day, which is celebrated on Friday. This year, Turkey and the world will mark the 745th anniversary of the Turkish language. In 1277, the pre-Ottoman ruler Mehmet I of Karaman in what is now central Turkey declared Turkish the official language of the Karamanid dynasty.

“Pakistan and Turkey have heart-to-heart relations,” Ertaş told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday.

“I joined this center in 2018, and in just four years, more than 1,000 students have taken different levels of Turkish language courses.” He added, “In addition to in-person classes, we also offer online classes.”

The Yunus Emre Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 to promote Turkish culture, language and arts across the world. It has spread to 66 countries, signed agreements with over 400 universities and issued 3.5 million Turkish language diplomas worldwide.

In Pakistan, it has three chapters – in Karachi, Lahore and the capital Islamabad – and offers the six levels – A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 – with three Turkish and six local teachers who have passed the top-examination of C2 level.

“Data shows that with each passing year, people are more and more willing to learn Turkish, and with the popularity of Turkish TV series like Diriliş: Ertuğrul (Resurrection: Ertuğrul), many students already know the language “, Ertas said. , referencing a historical Turkish TV drama that won fans around the world.

The institute has signed agreements with five local universities – Punjab University, National University of Modern Languages ​​Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi; University of Jammu and Kashmir, GIFT University Gujranwala and University of Management and Technology – as well as Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). In the next phase, public schools in Punjab will offer Turkish language courses.

“We are already in talks with the government to start the language course in public schools. The first phase will start in Lahore,” Ertas said. “We even have Turkish nationals teaching the language here in Pakistan,” he said, adding that recently 17 businessmen associated with the Lahore chamber graduated A1.

Ertaş said that in addition to modern Turkish language, courses in archery, calligraphy, water painting as well as Ottoman Turkish, the ancient Turkish script, are also offered by the institute. .

In the current session, with students and professionals, there is a whole family learning the language, as they plan to move permanently to Turkey.

Dr. Nazia Amjad, 48, a doctor, is attending classes in Lahore with her daughter and two sons. “At my age, learning something new is hard work, but I like the way they teach here, and although I’m an irregular student, I’ve already learned the basics,” she says.

Her daughter got a scholarship to Turkey, while the sons are still trying. “My daughter is a doctor of physiotherapy and she got the scholarship,” she explained. “As a family, we hope that we will all have good opportunities in our related fields, and this language certificate will help us overcome many obstacles.”

In Uganda, the local branch of Yunus Emre was established this year and soon Turkish was added to the foreign languages ​​taught at Makerere University in the capital Kampala.

“A Turkish Language Teaching Center has been established at Makerere University, where Turkish will now be taught as an optional foreign language,” Abdullah Kutalmış Yalçın, vice-president of the Yunus Emre Institute, said on Thursday during of the inauguration ceremony of the Turkish courses.

Hawa Kasule, a teacher in the university’s English department, told AA that this collaboration will have significant two-way benefits. “Several Turkish companies have been established in Uganda and there is a growing demand for local Turkish speakers. This initiative will create a pool of Turkish speakers and improve their marketability in the job market,” Hawa said.

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Sylvester L. Goldfarb