Indian couple broaden horizons of students in China's Ningxia

(Xinhua) 16:50, April 01, 2021

YINCHUAN, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Even for students in China's metropolises, learning computer programming from foreign teachers is a rare opportunity. Yet an Indian couple have been bucking the trend in the underdeveloped western region for four years.

Nitesh Singh and his wife Sucharita Kundu have been teaching computer programming and IT English at Ningxia University in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, since 2017.

This year, they have taken on a greater workload as some foreign teachers remain unable to return to China due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every week, the couple have to fly to the city of Guyuan, some 300 km away, to teach at Ningxia Normal University. Sometimes, the journey can take up to six hours as a flight is not always available.

"I enjoy being with the students. I'm so proud whenever I see them do well in class," said Singh.

The couple work for the National Institution of Information Technology (NIIT), one of the largest IT education and training providers. In 2017, a cooperation agreement was inked between the NIIT and Ningxia University, allowing students participating in the program to obtain a certificate from the NIIT. That was also when Singh and Kundu moved to Ningxia.

Ningxia is a comparatively underdeveloped region in China with weak English education. "I will speak slowly with a bilingual Powerpoint and encourage the students to speak English in class," said Kundu. "I also push them to have an English conversation with each other and shoot short videos in English."

To encourage the students to practice what they have learned, Singh often shows them apps he developed and inspires the students to use programming to solve real issues.

"Now my students can make some simple programs with Java, like food delivery or car-hailing apps," said Singh.

Kundu has kept a tradition of inviting the top five students of each class to join a "cooking party" at the end of each semester. Last semester, however, she sent invitations to the five with the worst English grades, as a kind of incentive.

"They've changed a lot since then and are more active in class," said Kundu.

"Teacher Kundu's class can not only help us improve our English and become more competitive in the job market, but has also made us closer," said Zhao Yiduo, a freshman at the university. "We all love her so much."

Over the past four years, the couple have made many Chinese friends and fallen in love with Chinese culture. They have also enjoyed the unique beauty of Helan Mountain and the desert in Ningxia and enjoyed mutton from the famous Tan sheep.

"It's a great thing to have so many friends abroad," said Kundu. "We hope to make more friends here and see more students improve their IT skills. We are confident to do a better job," said Singh.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Liang Jun)


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