The Department of Basic Education has approved the Chinese language, Mandarin, as part of the school curriculum. File photo

Johannesburg - “Ai Mama Wo Tongguò Jizhì,” translates to “Hey mom I passed matric”. If your child takes Mandarin as a school subject, they will be able to understand this.

The Department of Basic Education has approved the Chinese language as part of the school curriculum, offering pupils the opportunity of learning it as an official school subject.

From January next year, pupils in grades 4 to 12 will have the option of taking Mandarin as a second language option.

This is according to a government notice that was issued by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on March 20.

Mandarin has been added to the curriculum as a subject choice for pupils in grades 4 to 9 as a non-official language. Other language choices in the same category include German, Serbian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu.

Plans for introducing Mandarin as a school subject first came to light last year when the department announced that a curriculum for the teaching of “Chinese” would be developed with the help of the Chinese government.

At the time, Motshekga’s spokeswoman, Troy Martens, was quoted in The Star’s sister newspaper, the Cape Argus, as saying: “(China is) South Africa’s biggest trading partner, it is important for our children to become proficient in (Chinese sage and philosopher) Confucius’s language and develop a good understanding of Chinese culture.”

[email protected]

The Star