'South African Chinese Language Day' celebration held online
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"I hope you (South African students) could experience Chinese civilization for yourself and become the envoys for China-South Africa friendship and builders of China-South Africa and China-Africa communities with a shared future,” said Chen Xiaodong, Chinese ambassador to South Africa, as he addressed the "South African Chinese Language Day" celebration online on Sept. 17, 2021.
Angie Motshekga, Minister of the Department of Basic Education of South Africa, also sent her congratulations for this year’s celebration. “I hope that many South African learners would learn the Chinese language and become envoys of South Africa-China friendship and also provide opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”
Professor Cheng Yongbo, President of the Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, addressed the celebration with his sincere hope that through common effort, “South African Chinese Language Day” can become a well-known brand for the promotion of Chinese language and culture as well as the enhancement of China-South Africa friendship.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration for the event, entitled "South African Chinese Language Education Achievements Exhibition", is being held online by the Chinese Embassy and organized by the Confucius Classroom at the Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre, South Africa.
The celebration consists of seven parts, including the Chinese education services of teaching promotion, cultural activities, innovation projects, media publicity, local recognition, exchange promotion and service localization.
Classes include official training courses for officials from various bureaus at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, bachelor's and master's degree courses or elective courses for South African students, elective classes or private education, extra-mural classes for students in primary and high schools in South Africa, compulsory courses in Chinese and vocational skills for South African TVET colleges, and local training courses for teachers in South Africa.
The teachers of Chinese not only comprise public Chinese school teachers and volunteers, but also local teachers, overseas volunteers, and overseas Chinese teachers in South Africa. The mode for teaching includes a combination of online and offline teaching, and teaching content includes both daily Chinese language content and essential elements of Chinese culture (such as calligraphy, martial arts, etc.), as well as customized Chinese training in different industries, such as tour guides, hospitality and catering, traditional Chinese medicine, banking, transportation, mechanical and electrical engineering, etc.
Chinese language teaching in South Africa not only focuses on the cultivation of campus students, but also helps officials from national departments learn Chinese through regular training at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, along with officials from the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Trade and Industry who learn about China through pre-trip training and South African tour guides who learn Chinese through the tour guide training sessions of the Department of Tourism.
Chinese language education institutions in South Africa also pay attention to combining teaching and research, as well as establishing institutions in political, economic, cultural and professional fields in China and South Africa so as to promote academic exchanges between Chinese and South African universities.
To conclude the celebration, Li Xudong, Education Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, showed his gratitude to the Chinese language educators. He said that they have won respect, friendship, and bright prospects for continued development in South Africa with their own hard work and selfless dedication.
“As the number of Chinese learners in South Africa is increasing, with more than 10,000 students registered in various programs,” Ambassador Chen said, the embassy is ready to further facilitate South African friends in learning Chinese and Chinese teachers here to continue performing their work.
In August 2019, China and South Africa agreed to set Sept. 17 for each calendar year as the "South African Chinese Language Day". The establishment of "South African Chinese Language Day" is a milestone for the promotion of Chinese language and culture in South Africa. Chinese language teaching is now a part of the national education system of South Africa.