Chinese enterprises earnestly hope that Confucius Institute can become a “Lanxiang Vocational School” in Lagos
On June 9th, 2016, during the opening ceremony for the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos’s “Chinese Culture Month”, reporters learned that numerous Chinese enterprises greatly hoped that the Confucius Institute could become a “Lanxiang Vocational School” of Lagos, being able to supply Chinese enterprises with large numbers of local technical staff who possess relatively advanced technical skills, in addition to being able to speak Mandarin. On the morning of June 10th, Wang Yongjing, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, told reporters via WeChat that the previous evening she and the Local Director Segun Awonusi, along with others, discussed the matter of Chinese enterprises. On the afternoon of the 10th they held a meeting to further discuss this matter, and said that if the school approves this project, then the Confucius Institute will need much support from Chinese enterprises and social circles to accelerate the project.
With the influx of Chinese enterprises into the frontier markets of Nigeria, demand for local workers who understand Chinese language has risen rapidly. Some enterprises hope that the Confucius Institute can recommend some graduates majoring in Chinese language for employment, but the supply of qualified students is nowhere near sufficient, consequently the demands cannot be satisfied, and some enterprises choose to hire locals and send them to the Confucius Institute to study Chinese.
Wang Yongjing, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos, told reporters that at present the facilities used by the Confucius Institute are quite poor, and the classrooms are old and run-down, so that classrooms must be borrowed from the University of Lagos, which the university can only do as a favor each time. If Chinese enterprises and social circles can give ample active support, then Director Wang is willing to work hard and try new methods, and the Chinese institution Beijing Institute of Technology can also provide many qualified teachers. The Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) also hopes that the Confucius Institute, while providing locals with Chinese language and culture education, will be able to cultivate students capable of serving these Chinese-invested enterprises, thereby greatly aiding in resolving local employment issues.
General Manager of Senzhou Trading Co. Zhou Kai told reporters that their company previously employed only Chinese staff, and that in addition to their rather high salaries, their safety was also a great expense, as for every Chinese employee sent for a business trip, two armed police officers were needed which was simply too expensive. Meanwhile, there are many unemployed people in Nigeria who, although do not require salaries nearly as high, they do not have the required skills, nor do they speak Mandarin; but if these people can be trained, Chinese enterprises will warmly welcome them.
Zhou Kai also said, “I shared this idea with Director Wang, and she responded positively, but at the same time she also expressed that at present the conditions are not yet sufficient, and there are very few students with qualified language skills, all of whom have already been selected by many companies, making it difficult to realize my wishes. So I had two of our company employees go to the Confucius Institute to study Chinese, with some financial assistance. However, this is difficult for us to do it on our own.”
Others have ideas similar to that of Zhou Kai, including Liu Chongrong, Vice-Director of Sinoma International Engineering Nigeria Co. Lagos Office, Huang Jianyang and Lin Wanmei, Secretary General and Executive Director of Fujian Society respectively, who also hope that the Confucius Institute can provide this kind of talents. Faced with the current situation, they expressed that if Director Wang can obtain support from Nigeria, they would be willing to provide support as well, and would unite to assist the Confucius Institute, which is a win-win outcome for all.
He Jingyi, General Manager of Great Wall Travel, after watching the performance and competition of a Chinese language student named White Rose during the opening ceremony of “Chinese Culture Month”, expressed her fondness of the student, and said directly that she was willing to hire her.。
Director Wang Yongjing has great hopes for the future.
Reporters: Wang Peiyao, Cheng Hao
Voice of China (West Africa) Weekly