Tshwane - Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga hailed China's contribution to education in South Africa at the "Chinese Language Teaching in South Africa Gala Night" in Tshwane on Monday. Motshekga and Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian used the occasion to announce the designation of September 17th as 'South African Chinese Language Day,' which will be celebrated annually.
In 2015 Motshekga took the decision to include Chinese in South Africa's national education system as a second additional language. China is also actively introducing South African language teaching in their own country. The Beijing Foreign Studies University, China's top foreign language study university, has opened 84 foreign language teaching programs, including Zulu, and Tswana, Xhosa and Sotho.
The Confucius Institutes in South Africa were a major focus of the gala event. South Africa has the largest number of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Africa.
"Our two countries have jointly set up six Confucius Institutes and three Confucius Classrooms in South Africa. Chinese language courses are offered in 45 primary and secondary schools, with over 7,100 primary and secondary school students, 1,300 college students and more than 450 learners," Ambassador Lin Songtian said.
Confucius Institutes have played a key role in inter-school cooperation, and greatly enhanced mutual understanding and cooperation between the universities and young peoples of both countries.