South African Primary and Secondary School Principals’ ‘Beautiful China Tour’

A delegation of primary and secondary school principals from South Africa enjoyed a cultural and educational tour of China. Picture: Supplied

A delegation of primary and secondary school principals from South Africa enjoyed a cultural and educational tour of China. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 11, 2024


By Dai Wenhong

On July 1, the 2024 “Chinese Bridge” South African Primary and Secondary School Principals delegation to China, organised by South African Confucius Classroom at Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre of Sanda University (Shanghai), concluded its five-day visit to China with fruitful results and left China with reluctance.

The delegation was led by Mmule Madonsela, Chief Director of School Management of the Gauteng Department of Education, and included Mokgadi Gladys Ledwaba, Senior Education Specialist from the Tshwane South District Education Bureau, principals from seven local primary and secondary schools in South Africa, and Dai Wenhong, Chinese Director of Confucius Classroom, as the team leader.

On June 25, the principals’ delegation first visited Sanda University (Shanghai), where President Chen Yiyi extended a warm welcome to the delegation. Vice President Pan Huibin, Assistant President and Director of the International Exchange Office Li Li, Dean of the School of Education Cao Huiying, and other relevant persons attended the reception.

Chen Yiyi expressed his hope for further exchanges and cooperation between China and South Africa, and for the Confucius Classroom to expand its cooperation with South African schools to a broader field, contributing to the friendship between the two countries. Mmule Madonsela expressed her gratitude for the warm reception and her desire to work with Sanda to promote educational and cultural exchanges between China and South Africa. She stated that the Gauteng Department of Education and its affiliated schools are willing to cultivate students' Chinese language learning from the preschool stage, gradually covering all stages of primary and secondary education.

She also encouraged South African teachers and students to promote Chinese language and culture through participation in Chinese language teaching, short-term projects in China, and summer camps. Phuti Joyce Tsipa (Qi Pu), Consul General of South Africa in Shanghai, also had a pleasant lunch communication with the principals delegation members outside Sanda campus.

South African Principals Delegation visits Sanda University (Shanghai). Picture: Supplied


Phuti Joyce Tsipa, South African Consul General in Shanghai, had a pleasant lunch communication with the principals delegation members. Picture: Supplied


On the evening of the 26th, the principals delegation arrived in Nanjing with delight by high-speed train. At Youfu West Street Primary School in Nanjing, they were warmly welcomed by leaders of the Qinhuai District Education Bureau, Secretary Wandaihong, and teachers and students of the school. During the exchange talks, Director/Secretary Zhuang Yun of the Qinhuai District Education Bureau introduced the district's high-quality primary and secondary schools and educational achievements, while Secretary Wandaihong introduced the school's educational characteristics. South African principals also introduced the features and advantages of their respective schools, as well as their willingness to cooperate with Chinese basic education schools. Subsequently, the principal delegation enjoyed the naive yet wonderful Sichuan opera face-changing and Chinese Kung Fu dance performances by the primary school students, and experienced drawing Chinese traditional paintings with a brush.

Director/Secretary Zhuang Yun of the Qinhuai District Education Bureau in Nanjing and Others Take a Group Photo with the Principals Delegation. Picture: Supplied


South African Principals Delegation Watches Performances by Students of Youfu West Street Primary School. Picture: Supplied


Members of the South African Principals Delegation experience Chinese traditional painting. Picture: Supplied


At the best junior high school in Nanjing, Zhongying Middle School, Secretary Wang Xiaohu and Vice Principal Ding Jianhua led the South African principals delegation to visit an ancient site on the school campus, understanding the school's basic situation, educational characteristics,talent cultivation model, and outstanding achievement.


The principals delegation also visited modern Deji Plaza, the culturally rich Confucius Temple, the Dacheng Hall of the Confucius Temple, the Chinese Imperial Examination Museum in Nanjing, and took a boat tour to enjoy the beautiful night view along the Qinhuai River.

Principals Delegation Visits the Chinese Imperial Examination Museum. Picture: Supplied


On June 28, the principals delegation arrived in Shenzhen and fell in love with everything about Shenzhen as soon as they arrived. Especially the enthusiastic reception led by Xie Junjie, General Manager of Taoli Chinese, and the advanced exploration and achievements of Taoli Chinese in the field of international Chinese education deeply impressed the principals.

South African Principals Delegation Visits Taoli Future Group's Southern Country Building Campus. Picture: Supplied


In the morning of June 29, the official meeting was presided over by Zhang Jing, the External Relations Manager of Taoli Future Education Group. Fang Jinfeng, Chairman of Taoli Future Education Group, delivered a welcome speech, praising the long-standing friendship and cooperation between China and South Africa, and expressed hope that the Chinese learning APP "Tao Li" can help South African students learn Chinese.

He looked forward to maintaining long-term communication and exchange with both parties, exploring methods together, and contributing to the educational cause of both countries. Liu Qin, Director of the Public Affairs Department of the group, gave a comprehensive introduction to the current situation and development characteristics of China's basic education. Xie Junjie, General Manager of Taoli Chinese, introduced the background, product services, user status, and partners of the Taoli Chinese project to the South African principals.

Hu Qun, the person in charge of teaching and research at Taoli Chinese, introduced the discussion on "AI Application in the Field of International Chinese Teaching and Research". Liang Weiwei, the person in charge of the study abroad business department of Taoli Chinese, introduced the Taoli study abroad bilateral platform project.

Fang Jinfeng, Chairman of Shenzhen Taoli Future Education Group, Delivers a Welcome Speech. Picture: Supplied


South African Principals Delegation and Some Members of Taoli Future Education Group Take a Group Photo. Picture: Supplied


During the free communication and exchange stage, Ms. Mmule Madonsela of the South African side expressed her deep emotion. She said that online teaching and other educational technologies have just started in the Gauteng Province and the Department of Education and should continue to move forward. She expressed her desire to participate in courses and teacher training projects in China. Other principals also said that the advanced educational technology demonstrated by Taoli Future Education Group can be utilized by South Africa, providing opportunities for South African students.

Taoli Future is laying out overseas markets under the national "Belt and Road" strategy, pioneering international Chinese business. Relying on the TaoLi App, it has created a new Chinese learning ecological platform of "tools + content + services", committed to making the world fall in love with speaking Chinese. Taoli Chinese focuses on Chinese enthusiasts worldwide, international students in China, and Chinese enterprise professionals, providing online Chinese quality courses, efficient Chinese learning tools, Chinese learning hardware equipment, Chinese culture popularization activities, and HSK examination and evaluation.

At present, the platform has gathered more than 3 million Chinese learners, including 1.3 million registered users and 2.3 million fan users. After visiting the Shenzhen Taoli Future Education Group, the principals downloaded the Chinese learning Taoli App on the spot, and expressed that they will not only let their students learn Chinese but also learn Chinese themselves when they return to South Africa. The principal delegation members were also very happy to buy many Chinese-made electronic products in Shenzhen. They visited the "Shenzhen Splendid China · Folk Village" which showcases miniature landscapes of famous Chinese scenic spots.

The members of the principals delegation fell in love with China during this trip. After returning to South Africa, they continued to exchange ideas in WhatsApp group:

The Deputy Director said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being individuals that you are. I am inspired by your interest and commitment in changing the lives of our children for the better. I could read passion, determination and commitment in your utterances and plans when you are back. I would like us to continue with our discussions so that one could support where necessary. I have faith in all of you and believe you are going to set a precedence for all SOS schools."

Other principals also said: “This is a wonderful and inspiring trip, a pleasant and beneficial experience, very interesting, and very inspiring. It's great to be a member of this perfect team, we enjoyed every moment in China, and we are very grateful for the opportunity given by the Confucius Classroom and the Gauteng Department of Education.”

The principals promised to allow their students to learn and explore Mandarin, believing that this trip will benefit their students in the near future and find new opportunities.

In the past two years, Sanda University has attached great importance to the healthy and sustainable development of their South African Confucius Classroom at Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre, and has made efforts to promote Chinese training in the South African DIRCO Language Centre, primary and secondary schools, and the “Chinese + Skills” training project, combining Chinese teaching with various professional fields, making the Confucius Classroom a popular project among the local people in South Africa, and building it into an important platform for the local people to learn Chinese and understand the economic and social development of China.

Through the in-depth exchange of receiving the South African primary and secondary school principals' visit to China, in the future, teachers and students of the School of Education of Sanda University will actively participate in the teaching of the Confucius Classroom, providing high-quality Chinese teaching strength for the basic education field of the Gauteng Province in South Africa.


Dai Wenhong, Confucius Classroom at Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre, South African


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