Working Hard to Cultivate Chinese Talents and Boost Popularity among Africans with Sincerity——2018 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa Held in Maputo

[Source]    people.cn [Time]    2018-05-21 14:56:46 
 

“Chinese has changed my life and filled my world with sunshine,” Ghofran Shamseldin Babiker Ali, a student of the Confucius Institute at the University of Khartoum in Sultan, impressed every everyone in the audience with her passion. At the opening ceremony of 2018 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa, we have learned the story of the blind Sultan girl, who has been attracted by the beautiful rhythm of Chinese despite a congenital disability, and gained the opportunity to study in China through painstaking efforts.

“The establishment of Confucius Institutes has not only enabled Chinese to reach out to African students, it has also provided their lives with more opportunities.” This is a shared recognition of all the participants of the Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa. The 2018 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa was held in Maputo, Mozambique from May 14th to 15th. Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Macamo, Speaker of Mozambique, etc., attended the opening ceremony. A total of more than 300 people including Chinese and foreign presidents and directors from more than 60 Confucius Institutes and Confucius classrooms in 41 African countries, as well as representatives of Chinese and African enterprises and institutions made presence in its largest-ever scale.


2018 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa was held in Maputo, Mozambique from May 14th to 15th

Nhambiu, Minister of State for Science, Higher Education and Vocational Education of Mozambique said at the opening ceremony that Mondlane University is the oldest and best-known comprehensive university in Mozambique. The Confucius Institute is an important institution of Chinese education and popularization of Chinese culture worldwide. “This is the first time for the joint conference to be held in Mozambique, marking an important stage of friendly cooperation between China and African countries, which is an important milestone for education, culture and social exchanges between China and Africa.

Issues brought up at the two-day conference were wide-ranging. Focusing on “promoting friendly cooperation between China and Africa and building a community of common destiny between China and Africa”, heads of Chinese and African universities such as Mondlane University in Mozambique, Chongqing Normal University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria, Tianjin Normal University, Durban University of Technology in South Africa, Beijing Language and Culture University and Zhejiang Normal University held the President’s Forum, introducing the experiences and ideas of Chinese teaching in their own universities.

Among them was the speech of Ma Guisheng, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Committee of Beijing Language and Culture University, which was full of flavor. He summed up the practice of promoting the construction of Confucius Institutes by Beijing Language and Culture University that “don’t forget original commitments, absorb foreign culture and face the future”. He affirmed that the purpose of establishing Confucius Institutes of “bettering understanding among people around the world in regards to Chinese language and culture, develop friendly relations between China and foreign countries, promote the development of a multicultural world, and contribute to a harmonious world” is highly compatible with Beijing Language and Culture University’s development path. For more than a decade, the university has cooperated to establish 18 Confucius Institutes and 1 independent Confucius Classroom. The total number of registered Confucius Institute students has reached 350,000. Moreover, the university has also trained more than 4000 Chinese teachers and volunteers for the global Confucius Institutes. As to quality of teaching, Ma Guisheng stressed that at the beginning of the new development, Chinese teaching needs to strengthen the long-term plan, grasp the core of teachers, teaching materials and teaching methods, and make full use of the guidance of examinations and standards to build a more perfect teaching system, teaching material system and management system.


Ma Guisheng, Deputy Party Secretary of Beijing Language and Culture University, impressing the audience with his speech

In addition, alumni and representatives from Confucius Institutes at some well-known universities in Africa such as Moi University, University of Nairobi, Egerton University of Kenya and the University of Yaounde Ⅱof the Republic of Cameroon conducted typical case analysis and shared experiences.

On the second day of the conference, focus was on issues such as “innovation and characteristics development of Confucius Institutes”, “improving the quality of school running” and “strengthening the cooperation and experience sharing of Confucius Institutes”, where the participants shared the cases and held group discussions.

Qiao Xu, President of Nanjing Tech University and the host of the second panel, said that in order to ensure the quality of teaching of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms, Hanban has adopted the method of combining external investigation groups with internal supervision groups, the external investigation groups being composed of authoritative experts, conducting professional evaluations on the teaching indexes while the internal supervision groups are made by the universities themselves.

The Confucius Institute’s breakthroughs in Chinese teaching are also impressive. According to Mustafa, Foreign Director of Confucius Institute at Nile TV station, Egypt, they began to broadcast Chinese course programs to 23 Arab countries from 2015 for 30 minutes each, focusing on Chinese courses and introducing Chinese culture. They also planned to enrich the form of TV programs, introduced various activities organized by China and other contents and expanded popularization to facilitate the promotion and exchange of “the Belt and Road” initiative by television in Arab countries.


Venue for panel discussion

Li Xiaoyan, Chinese Director of the Confucius Classroom at Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Center, said that the three main issues brought up in the joint conference were all related to the development of Confucius Institutes. How Confucius Institutes innovate and achieve distinctive development has prompted the participants to think more about how to take root conditions and design distinctive projects according to their own conditions so as to develop in a diverse way.“At the same time, we should also strengthen the cooperation and experience sharing among Confucius Institutes, learn from each other and integrate development”, said Li.


Venue for panel discussion

When summarizing the group discussion, Qiao Xu said that the participants not only shared the valuable experience in education and teaching, but also made valuable suggestions for the future development of Confucius Institutes, such as cooperation with local official institutions and Chinese enterprises to expand the local influence of Confucius Institutes as well as suggesting Hanban to strengthen the macro guidance of Confucius institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Africa and increase the mechanism of exchange and promote comprehensive and in-depth cooperation.


Sum-up by Qiao Xu, President of Nanjing Tech University

Yu Yunfeng, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute and Deputy Director-General of Hanban, affirmed the conclusion of the group discussions at the closing ceremony of the joint conference. He put forward five focuses on the future development of Confucius Institutes, namely focusing on education and teaching, improving the quality and characteristics and exploring a bilateral cooperation mechanism; focusing on localization and improving the sustainability; focusing on cooperation and promoting cooperative development; focusing on the story of Confucius Institutes, taking root in Africa, serving Africa and creating a good space for development; focusing on online Confucius Institutes, digital Confucius Institutes and intelligent Confucius Institutes, embracing new technology and creating new platforms.


Yu Yunfeng, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and Deputy Director-General of Hanban, recognizing the conclusion from panel discussions at the closing ceremony of the joint conference

It is reported that China has set up more than 500 Confucius Institutes and more than 1,000 Confucius Classrooms at primary and secondary schools in more than 140 countries and regions around the world, and there are about 2,000,000 students at all levels. At present, there are 54 Confucius Institutes and 30 Confucius Classrooms in 41 African countries, which have cultivated about 1,400,000 students in all kinds of levels and is the region of Confucius Institutes in the world that achieve the best results. Each Confucius Institute is unique and thriving.

Confucius Institutes actively help the universities set up Chinese departments, promote Chinese teaching into the national education system, set up a large number of Chinese teaching and occupation training skills training courses, fully participate in the construction of “the Belt and Road” and serve for friendly cooperation between China and Africa, which builds beautiful bridges of culture, friendship and soul between Chinese and African people and make important contributions to the practice of “true sincerity” and consolidating the friendly relations between China and Africa.


Chinese Director delivering a speech

Professor Oswald Ndoleriire, Foreign Director of Confucius Institute at Makerere University in Uganda, told the journalist of people.cn that China is one of the most important countries in the world and provides help for African countries from various aspects. African countries need to learn advanced knowledge from China and language is the foundation of learning. The bridge of cultural exchanges built by Confucius Institutes will help the friendship between China and Africa last forever.


Foreign Director delivering a speech


The attendees

Chairman Li, said in his speech at the opening ceremony that the Confucius Institute takes Chinese teaching and promoting cultural exchanges all over the world as its responsibilities. For more than 10 years, it has consistently adhered to the concept of school running based on equal cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results between China and foreign countries, forging ahead and innovating development. It has become a global educational community built, managed, owned, and shared by both Chinese and foreign parties and played a unique role in and made positive contributions to promoting cultural exchanges, soul communication and friendship between Chinese and foreigners.

(Story and photos by Wang Lei, people.com.cn)

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