MINISTRY of Higher Education permanent secretary Mabvuto Sakala says Chinese language will effectively become examinable under the Examinations Council of Zambia starting next year. And Zambia’s High Commissioner to China Winnie Chibesakunda has welcomed the introduction of the Chinese language as an examinable subject in Zambian secondary schools. A delegation led by Sakala, comprising officials from the University of Zambia and the Ministry of General Education paid a courtesy call on High Commissioner Chibesakunda in Beijing on May 6. The meeting came ahead of a ceremony to sign off the Chinese language training agreement between the governments of Zambia and the People’s Republic of China on May 7.
Sakala said the agreement on the Chinese language curriculum to be entered into between the Confucius Institute and the Ministry of General Education would officially flag off the implementation of Chinese Language training at secondary school level in Zambia. He commended UNZA, who in collaboration with Hebei University of Economics and Business (HUEB), had facilitated the implementation of various processes including development of textbooks aimed at easing the expansion of Chinese language training in Zambia. He said although the Confucius Institute had been providing Chinese language training in Zambia since 2010, such provision had been on a limited level and largely informal.
Sakala explained that the agreement to be entered into implied that the government would assume official responsibility from the Confucius Institute to roll out the Chinese language in all secondary schools countrywide.
“We also want to ensure that we have an assured pipeline of trained Chinese language teachers to support the national rollout of Chinese training and assessment by the Examinations Council of Zambia. In the light of this, we will be discussing with our counterparts here, the development of a fast-track local teacher development programme as prepared by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia,” he said.
And High Commissioner Chibesakunda observed that previous attempts at teaching the language through short courses had not been effective and thus emphasised that a plausible approach to en-suring uptake of Chinese required a structured method to its training with a focus on young people. She acknowledged that the move by the government was the best way to answer the call by Chinese President Xi Jinping of ‘People to People Exchange’ and that this exchange and cooperation could only be done if the people of the two countries understood each other. She said China was very close to the African culture and the initiative to narrow the language barrier would create opportunities for Zambia to benefit more from the developmental efforts being made by both countries. And UNZA Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba thanked High Commissioner Chibesakunda for her efforts to strengthen the many collaborative initiatives between the two countries.
During its official visit to China, the Zambian delegation held meetings with the Confucius Institute Head Office on the Chinese language programme report as prepared by the Curriculum Development Centre.
The delegation also engaged with HUEB, the Department of Education of Hebei Province, Hebei College of Industry and Technology and Beijing Language and Culture University.