Chinese embassy hands over Mandarin learning material

Chinese ambassador Tian Xuejun with Hoërskool Die Wilgers learner Wessel van der Vleuten. Photo: Eliot Mahlase

Chinese language teaching equipment was handed over by the Chinese embassy during a ceremony at Willowridge high school on Monday.

The department of basic education was present when smart boxes and books were donated to 10 schools studying Mandarin in Gauteng.

The department approved Mandarin as part of the school curriculum in 2015, and this came to full effect in 2016.

Willowridge acting principal Rowan Phillips said he was extremely honoured to be visited by the two parties.

“In our 30th school anniversary, the visit is absolutely fitting,” said Phillips.

“Willowridge has never been visited by an embassy or department of education before, so this is such a privilege for us.”

Willowridge learner Mathudi Ralekhethe and Hoërskool Die Wilgers learner Wessel van der Vleuten visited China last year in an exchange student programme.

Both did presentations and a speech in Mandarin.

Minister of basic education Angie Motshekga said speaking Mandarin gave children better opportunities.

“China is one of South Africa’s biggest trading partners and it would be beneficial for our children to become proficient in the language (Mandarin),” said Motshekga.

“This will open up the world for them and create opportunities even outside the country.”

Also read: Mandarin to be taught at school

Motshekga said learning foreign languages was key in developing children.

“Languages are good economically, culturally and socially. It develops a good understanding of other cultures.”

“As the government, we are committed to strengthen the level of Mandarin in the country. It is part of enriching out curriculum and opening more opportunities for our kids.”

Chinese ambassador Tian Xuejun said the partnership between the embassy and department of basic education has formed friendship and cooperation between the two parties.

“China has supported this programme and it will be our honour to see more schools enrol in the language. As the programme grows, we will strengthen our teaching methods to ensure that the schools benefit.”

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  AUTHOR
Eliot Mahlase
Journalist

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