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Chinese Language Education in Africa

In a restaurant in Zimbabwe, the reporter found an interesting thing that there are several Chinese characters with Pinyin written on the doorframe of the kitchen, reading “chu fang zhong di xian ren mian jin”. Some of the foreign students who learn in intensive Mandarin course in China may think it is proper to write Chinese since it is a Chinese food restaurant. But the Chinese Pinyin seems unnecessary because Chinese people do not need it and foreigners do not understand it.

After further understanding, the report knew it is because the local Shaona language is similar with Chinese Pinyin. Since the boss family does not understand foreign language, they try to train the local employees to speak Chinese language. In recent years, the enthusiasm of learning Chinese language in Africa is increasing, mostly because the trade and communication between China and countries in Africa in strengthening. Therefore, acquiring Chinese is advantage no matter you are doing business in China or working in local enterprises.

There is a Chinese language education school in Mauritius named Xinhua School. The year of 2012 is the 90th anniversary of this school. The principle LI Nuhong said that the 1950s was the peak that foreigners went to learn to speak Chinese. Later, the classes were decreased due to the decrease of students. However, in recent years, the number of students increases rapidly. The school is planning to rebuild the teaching buildings and build a new in the next year.

Lin Nuhong is the third generation of Mauritius Chinese. He said it is also essential for the decedents of Mauritius Chinese to study Mandarin except for the local people. When it comes to the third generation, many Chinese there fail to speak Chinese. According to the minister of the Ministry of Tourism in Mauritius Yang Zunshao, the tourism cooperation between China and Mauritius has great potential and he is making efforts to open up the Chinese market. Therefore, he decided to start to learn Chinese.

Many main stream education institutions in countries of Africa gradually realize the enthusiasm of learning Mandarin Chinese in the folk and are willing to open Confucius Institute together with China. In Zimbabwe University, the Chinese teachers in Confucius Institute said the Chinese language course belongs to the elective course. The students who choose it can get the universal credit. The excellent students might have chance to study abroad in China.

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