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China to deploy more Chinese teachers to Nigeria


chinese-teacherreportPlans are afoot by the Confucius Institute (CI), University of Lagos (UNILAG), to bring into the country, more Chinese language teachers from China to meet the growing demand for the teaching of the language in the country.

Speaking at this year’s edition of the “Chinese Bridge,” Co-director of the institute, Prof. Yongjung Wang, said CI in its bid to cover more schools in the country was working towards bringing down more experts to properly teach the language in schools that subscribe to it.

The Chinese Bridge is an international Chinese Proficiency Competition, organised by the CI to bridge the gap of knowledge and understanding in language and culture between China and other countries like Nigeria.

According to her, 14 secondary and primary schools within Lagos State have subscribed to teaching the language, and this increasing number calls for the action by CI.

She also said the competition was, among other things, geared towards attracting more schools to see the essence of being multilingual.

Wang, who described Nigerian students’ interest in learning the language as encouraging, noted that, “Schools that have subscribed receive Chinese lessons from professional Chinese teachers from the CI’s Headquarters in Hanban, twice weekly. The understanding of the two different cultures and languages is to help students of both countries bridge communication barriers.”

Asked if promoting Chinese language was part of China’s efforts at penetrating the country, she responded, “It is the Nigerian interest that attracted us as we were required by UNILAG authorities to deploy teachers here to teach Chinese language in the country.”

Deputy director of the institute, Dr. Tony Okeregbe, pointed out that the learning of Chinese language and culture in Nigerian schools was a part of strengthening the bilateral relationship that exists between both countries.

He noted that the global movement
was towards China in today’s global economic order, and for Nigeria to key into the “Chinese revolution,” platforms like the Chinese Bridge were necessary to facilitate that bilateral relationship.

With China being home to about one fifth of the world’s population, “It will therefore pay any country to open up and foster a bilateral relationship with the country and that is what we are doing,” he expressed.

To this end, “We are trying to expose our students from primary to secondary schools and tertiary levels to what it means to be part of the Chinese revolution by knowing their language and culture,” he explained

Okeregbe told The Guardian that the institute has about100 actively registered students pursuing different levels of the Chinese language.

Asked if promoting Chinese language and culture would not hinder students’ ability to learn our local dialect, Okeregbe said, “If Africans want to kill our culture and language because of the openness to Chinese language, it is their own problem. I think we would be in a better place to define the relationship, and if we are not, this should be a wake up call to our people to build and nurture our own language and culture to engage China too,” he added

The contest, which draws participants from the primary to tertiary levels, is an annual event. This year’s episode, which was sponsored by Huawei Technologies, is the fifth in the series.

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