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Tanzanian official calls on students to excel in Mandarin

Mandarin has put at the top of the agenda as Tanzanian students were told to excel in the Chinese language to assist the country in its growth.

Tanzanian students who are learning Mandarin and culture have been urged to work hard and excel so that they can help in technological transfer from Beijing to Dar es Salaam.

Speaking during the launching of a Chinese language and culture pilot programme in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, Deputy Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Leonard Akwilapo urged secondary school students learning the language and culture of China to stay focused and excel so that they can also tap knowledge and skills from the Asian nation’s technological success.

“If you learn well the Mandarin and the Chinese culture, you will also acquire technological knowledge and skills of the Chinese who are very successful in this area,” Akwilapo told students of Zanaki Secondary School in Dar es Salaam where the colourful ceremony was held.

He said the programme which is supported by the Chinese government is another important milestone in the good and strong bilateral relations between the two nations which dates back to the days of Tanzania’s founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

“Our bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength and in all fields of life, the Chinese have been our best friends supporting our development efforts since 1970s when they built Uhuru railway,” he noted.

Six secondary schools and three universities are taking part in the pilot programme which is currently being backed by 12 Chinese language expatriates. University of Dodoma’s Confucius Institute is the coordinating centre of the programme which also includes University of Dar es Salaam and Muslim University of Morogoro.

“The government is prepared to ensure that this programme is sustainable, so we are training teachers at the three universities so that they can take over from the Chinese volunteers,” the official noted.

Speaking at the same function, Chinese Embassy Cultural Counsellor, Gao Wei pledged Beijing’s continued support to the programme, saying it marks an important aspect in the history of the two countries.

“I would like to congratulate your school for being one of those chosen to participate in the pilot programme,” Gao said.

He challenged the students to work hard and excel promising those who perform well be sent to China for summer schools and university courses in future.

Zanaki Girls Secondary School Head Mistress, Juliet Matowo said some 300 students in forms one and five are learning the language at her school daring them to succeed so that they can join Chinese universities.

“There is a lot of interest among our students to learn the language,” Matowo said, pointing out that many students have ambitions to further their studies in the Asian nation.

During the colourful ceremony, the students sang Chinese songs, performed martial arts and acrobatics displaying skills which they have already acquired from their Chinese teachers.

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