Feature: South Sudanese see huge prospects in learning Chinese language

(Xinhua) 09:46, March 04, 2024

JUBA, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Several South Sudanese are rushing to enroll for free Chinese language lessons due to the immense opportunities the language offers in a country where job opportunities are scarce due to the prevailing economic hardship.

Amou Santo Domic, 20, is among the new students enrolled since January at the Chinese Language Learning Center at Juba Day Secondary School under the China-Aided Phase II Technical Cooperation Project of Education in South Sudan.

She said Saturday during the visit by a high-level delegation from China's Ministry of Commerce to inspect the China-aided projects in South Sudan that she enrolled in the Chinese language course to grasp a little bit of the language before her trip to China in July for her degree studies in petroleum engineering at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.

"The reason why I am here is I will be going to China in July for my studies. I heard from a South Sudanese who went before me to China that the Chinese people value their language more than anything," Domic said in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

She said that proficiency in Mandarin provides limitless opportunities because of the huge presence of Chinese-owned companies in South Sudan and across the African continent.

The Chinese delegation led by Kong Dejun, the director-general of the Agency for International Economic Cooperation in the Ministry of Commerce of China, arrived in Juba Friday to inspect the progress made in several China-aided projects, including the Technical Cooperation Project in Education with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan.

Phase II of the project involves developing, reviewing, printing, and providing textbooks for some primary and secondary schools in South Sudan, organizing capacity-building programs for the teachers and the educational administrators, developing and providing an evaluation system for the usage of the textbooks, and dispatching Chinese teaching personnel to Juba to facilitate the Chinese language and cultural exchange programs.

Mayiik Deng Mayiik, 27, who has been among the pioneer students since the inauguration of the Chinese language learning and cultural exchange program in July 2021, said that learning the Chinese language has endeared him to many Chinese people whom he likes to tease in fluent Chinese language. "We see many Chinese companies in our country, if I learn Chinese language very well I will get an opportunity to go and work in the oil fields and some other Chinese companies, which is a very good decision," he added.

Mayiik said he would encourage more young South Sudanese to take up the opportunity of learning Mandarin despite it appearing to be tough for first learners.

Chol Makur Malek, 47, a soldier with the engineering department of the South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF), said he was inspired by his friend Mayiik to enroll in a Chinese language course in February this year. He said he hopes one day to be sent by his superiors for training in China, adding that learning the Chinese language in advance is a necessity.

Ustaz George Kenyi, head teacher at Juba Day Secondary School, said that the Chinese language center has been a blessing because it has realized the very essence of the cultural exchange program agreed upon by the two countries.

Kuyok Abol Kuyok, undersecretary of the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, said that language does not only break barriers but it creates opportunities.

He said that Phase II of the China-Aided Technical Cooperation Project in Education is soon coming to an end, adding that they are working with their Chinese counterparts to develop Phase III.

"In this Phase III we are very ambitious because we feel that the success of this particular project (Phase II) should be the foundation for us to move on, so we want to, except for all the other major components of the technical cooperation, have three classrooms for the language learning and cultural exchange, one for the beginners, middle learners and one for advanced learners," Kuyok said, disclosing that they want Chinese language learners to be allowed to visit China and interact with Chinese people. "I think it will be a very good opportunity for them."

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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