A delegation led by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Higher Education Mr Mabvuto Sakala comprising officials from the University of Zambia and the Ministry of General Education paid a courtesy call on Her Excellency Winnie Chibesakunda Zambia’s Ambassador to China at the Mission in Beijing China on 6th May 2019. This meeting came ahead of the ceremony to sign off the Chinese language training agreement between the Government of Zambia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China to be held on 7th May 2019.
Speaking on the occasion of this visit, Mr 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.
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. The Permanent Secretary explained that the agreement to be entered into this week implied that the Government of Zambia would assume official responsibility from the Confucius Institute to roll out the Chinese language in all Secondary Schools Countrywide. Further to this, the teaching of the Chinese language would effectively become examinable under the Examinations Council of Zambia starting 2020.
The Permanent Secretary commended the University of Zambia (UNZA) who in collaboration with Hebei University of Economics and Business (HUEB) had facilitated implementation of various processes including development of a Chinese language text book aimed at easing the expansion of Chinese language training in Zambia.
Speaking at the same occasion, Her Excellency Madam Chibesakunda observed that previous attempts at teaching the language through short courses had not been effective and thus emphasized that a plausible approach to ensuring uptake of the Chinese language required a structured method to its training with a focus on young people. She therefore welcomed the introduction of the Chinese language as an examinable subject at Secondary Schools in Zambia.
The Ambassador acknowledged that the move by the Government of the Republic of Zambia was the best way to answer the call by the President of China, 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 the two Countries.
During its official visit to China, the Zambian delegation is expected to hold meetings with the Confucius Institute Head Office on the Chinese language programme report as prepared by the Curriculum Development Centre. The delegation is also expected to engage with Hebei University of Economics and Business (HUEB), the Department of Education of Hebei Province, Hebei College of Industry and Technology and Beijing Language and Culture University. Permanent Secretary Mr Mabvuto Sakala said ‘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’.
University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Professor Luke Mumba thanked her Excellency Zambia’s Ambassador to China Ms Winnie Chibesakunda for her efforts to strengthen the many collaborative initiatives between the two Countries.