2012 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa Held in South Africa
From Sept. 11th to 13th, 2012 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa was held at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Delegates of over 30 Confucius Institutes (including Confucius Classrooms) from 26 countries and regions in Africa as well as 11 Chinese partners attended the Conference.
During the three-day session, the delegates carried out in-depth discussions and researches on such topics as how to promote the integration of the Institutes into universities and communities, how to develop the roadmaps for the Institutes and how to enhance the training of local teachers.
Zwelivelile Mandela, Chief of Mvezo Traditional Council and Member of the Parliament, officials from the Ministry of Higher Education & Training and the Ministry of Basic Education of South Africa, Xu Lin, Counselor of the State Council of China, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, Tian Xuejun, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, and Russel Botman, Rector of Stellenbosch University, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches.
In his address, Mr. Mandela commended the accomplishment of the Institutes in promoting the mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between Africa and China. He said that cultural exchange with language learning included was an effective approach to the further development of Sino-African ties. He also pointed out that China had consistently supported the anti-apartheid struggle of local people in the past, and were earnestly assisting South Africa and other countries on the continent with economic construction. South African people were proud to have such a good friend as China.
Xu Lin claimed in her speech that through the energetic support and mutual endeavor in recent years, the Institutes had seen substantial improvement in educational facilities and faculty team building, placed greater emphases on credits and degree-based education, rapidly expanded the size of business, and gradually blazed a unique trail that fitted local needs and featured great potential. She argued that in the coming five years, the Institutes would focus on the following three aspects: a) the degree-based Chinese education; b) the extension of services to primary and middle schools and communities; and c) the integration of Chinese education and vocational training to cultivate specialized talents. She suggested that the Institutes (and the Classrooms) should develop some technical courses so that the students could learn the Chinese language and professional know-how at the same time, especially the basic skills required by Chinese-funded enterprises, which would be a unique feature of the Institutes in Africa.
Ambassador Tian Xuejun mentioned that an increasing number of African countries had been committed to Chinese education in recent years. Through their constant efforts, the burgeoning Institutes had not only showed local people a clearer picture of China and its culture, but also played an important role in the promotion of Sino-African friendship and cooperation.
The Conference was sponsored by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters and hosted by Stellenbosch University. So far, there have been three Confucius Institutes and one Confucius Classroom in South Africa, and 31 Confucius Institutes and five Confucius Classrooms in 26 countries and regions on the continent.