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Secondary schools in Africa embrace Chinese language lessons

Staff writer ▼ | April 2, 2016
As ties between China and Africa grow not only in trade but also in people-to-people exchanges, the interest in Chinese language learning has grown from among university students to teenagers in African countries.
Africa school
Education   China donates resources to African students
Teaching of Chinese language in secondary schools has been introduced to African countries including South Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar, and this trend is expected to further grow.

Fourteen schools - either primary schools or secondary schools - in South Africa are teaching the Chinese language, while more schools will have Chinese language lessons this year, according to Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

The education department of Gauteng province is piloting the teaching of the Chinese language in schools, mainly in the Tshwane South district, Motshekga said earlier this month.

The 14 schools currently teaching the Chinese language are in the province and a list of 13 new schools has been proposed for this year, according to the minister.

The Chinese language lessons would be introduced in the schools for grades 4-10 (usually for children aged 10-16) in 2016, to be followed by grade 11 in 2017 and grade 12 in 2018, according to the Department of Basic Education.

Six secondary schools and three universities are taking part in a pilot program of the Chinese language teaching in Tanzania, backed by 12 Chinese teachers.

The Confucius Institute at University of Dodoma serves as the coordinator of the program.

Speaking during the launching of a Chinese language and culture pilot program in Dar es Salaam recently, Tanzania's Deputy Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Leonard Akwilapo, encouraged the secondary school students learning Chinese.

At Le petit Nid School in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo, half of a total of 3,000 students in the school, aged 8-17, have enrolled in the Chinese language lessons.

When the Chinese classes were introduced in the school in 2013, only 210 students enrolled for the lessons, but the number has grown to some 1,500 for this year.

The Chinese embassy to Madagascar has been supporting the school and its Chinese language teaching at the school, donating books and equipment.

At least three or four of the students got a scholarship to study in China every year.