The desire to learn the Chinese language has gained popularity in Zambia since the establishment of the Confucius Institute 10 years ago at the University of Zambia.
LUSAKA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Mary Sakala, a bachelor of economics at the University of Zambia (UNZA), decided to enroll for a Chinese learning program at the Confucius Institute in hope of furthering her education in China.
"I am learning Chinese because I am preparing myself so that when I go to China I will be able to communicate effectively," she told Xinhua.
Her friend, Lombe Bwalya, who is pursuing a degree in education, says she is learning Chinese because she wants to join one of the many Chinese companies that are operating in Zambia.
The desire to learn the Chinese language has gained popularity in Zambia since the establishment of the Confucius Institute 10 years ago at the UNZA.
A competitor performs Dai dance during the preliminary round competition of "Chinese Bridge" in Lusaka, Zambia, May 28, 2018. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun)
"The Chinese language has become an important economic language because of China's global influence. People are eager to learn the Chinese language in order to communicate properly with the Chinese people,"Sande Ngalande, acting director of the Confucius Institute.
A lot of people are realizing the importance of learning the Chinese language because they want to learn not only the language but the Chinese culture as well, he said.
He further said the scale of cooperation between China and Africa has grown and that people-to-people connection needs to be enhanced through the teaching of the Chinese language.
In the last 10 years of its existence in Zambia, the Confucius Institute has made strides in promoting the learning of the Chinese language.
Zambian Deputy Minister of Education Sydney Mushanga (2nd, L) and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming (1st, L) attend the inauguration of Confucius Classroom at Rhodes Park School in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, Sept. 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun)
Apart from introducing the teaching of the Chinese language in two public universities, the Confucius Institute has also introduced it in 10 government secondary schools and a number of private schools.
Ngalande said the institute is currently in need of local teachers to teach the Chinese language.
"The response from Zambians is overwhelming but the problem we have is we do not have enough teachers. The demand is very good both in terms of students who want to study the Chinese language as a major while some are coming for several short courses we are offering," he added. ■