|UB launches Chinese language classes|
GABORONE - The University of Botswana considers the introduction of Chinese language classes as both a national and strategic initiative.
Professor Bojosi Otlhogile, UB's vice chancellor said this when officiating at the launch of the classes last Thursday.
Prof. Otlhogile explained that the occasion marked an important milestone in the introduction of foreign language teaching at the institution. He highlighted that the Chinese government will assist with teachers, provision of learning materials and other resources.
On other issues, he mentioned that it is evident that the 21st century belongs to the Chinese as evidenced by their high levels of economic growth.
This, he stated, was not the rise of the Asian giant, but rather the re-emergence of one of the greatest civilisations.
Prof. Otlhogile asserted that if Batswana are to understand the Chinese economic miracle, they first have to understand her history, culture and language.
Prof. Li Jin of the Shanghai Normal University, UB's partner in the teaching of the Chinese language explained that language is an important tool for mutual learning among different cultures of the world.
He noted that the teaching of Chinese language at the Confucius Institute would help bring Botswana and China closer to each other in their social and economic transactions.
Furthermore, he explained that China needs support from all over the world for cooperation in economic development while the rest of the world, need the Chinese for their progress.
Prof. Li highlighted that the launch of the classes at the institute reflected the seriousness of the need to learn each other's languages.
He maintained that the two universities should carry out cultural exchanges on the platform of this institute and take UB as a basis for African studies.
Consequently, he promised that his university will train teachers for UB and also avail scholarships for more Batswana to learn Chinese.
In addition, he noted that the two institutions should take advantage of advances in information technology to deliver effective Chinese language teaching. He also explained that he was impressed by the response and enthusiasm of the UB students to learn the Chinese language and was positive that the institute will be successful.
The Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Liu Huanxing noted that by the end of August, 339 Confucius Institutes had been established in 83 countries and regions.
The launch of the classes was also attended by members of the Confucius institute at the University of Zimbabwe who gave a rendention of Chinese choral songs.
(Daily News, 14 September 2009)