Overview: Cambodia’s Chinese Language Education Transforms from “Blood Transfusion” to “Blood Making”

[Source]    xinhuanet.com [Time]    2018-06-07 13:48:11 

It remains a question of how to boost the sound development of Cambodia’s Chinese language education in the long run with ever growing demand for talents proficient in Chinese and a great lack of Chinese language teachers. From setting up Chinese language training classes to establishing Chinese language normal schools, teachers from China have been working with Cambodian teachers to promote the transformation of Chinese language education in Cambodia from “blood-transfusion” to “blood making”.

Fang Qiaosheng, President of Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia, said that since the establishment in 1990, the federation has been dedicated to advancing Chinese language education and promoting Chinese culture. Chinese language education has nurtured a huge amount of Chinese-Cambodian bilingual talents who have served as the bridge and bond for communication and cooperation of China-funded enterprises in various industries, making contributions to friendship and cooperation between China and Cambodia.

It’s learnt that there are 50,000 students at Chinese schools in Cambodia. However, there are only about 500 local Chinese language teachers who are in shorter supply, especially in Chinese schools in rural areas. Zheng Mianfa, Standing Vice President and Chief of the Culture and Education Section of Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia, said that the Chinese craze has brought intangible benefits to the development of Chinese schools as spring winds do to growing trees. However, Chinese language teachers are in extremely short supply with the growing number of students at those schools.

Duan Hua (Toun Fa) with more than 10,000 students is the biggest Chinese school in Cambodia. “We need at least 300 teachers considering the number of students here. But we only have 230 ones and more than 70 of them are over 60 years old. Most of the new teachers are the school’s graduates who choose to stay and work here after graduation.” said Principal Yang Jinyi, “The unreasonable age structure and a lack of professional training for young teachers are main problems for now.”

Yang Jinyi said that training is necessary for teachers to improve teaching skills. “We have sent our teachers to attend the training classes held by Confucius Institutes for several consecutive years. Many young teachers have learned the methods to improve their basic skills and some practical teaching techniques.”

Confucius Institute has been recognized as a renowned brand in Cambodia for Chinese language education. The Confucius Institute at Royal Academy of Cambodia has been listed among the project of Global Model Confucius Institutes, training 53,000 students in total with 27 teaching points. Those teaching points, including three Confucius Classrooms, cover 12 provinces and municipalities of Cambodia.

Xia Xiulong, Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at Royal Academy of Cambodia, introduced that the Confucius Institute has held 7 training classes for Cambodian Chinese language teachers during summer vacations since 2011, which have trained nearly 1000 teachers, effectively advancing teaching proficiency of local Chinese language teachers.

Sun Hairui, Director of the Department of Chinese Language co-founded by Confucius Institute at Royal Academy of Cambodia and Asia Euro University, had participated in two training sessions. He said that these local Chinese language teachers were so passionate. They came to the sessions with questions and left with practical methods.

Yang Jinyi told journalists that the institute’s regular training and courses provided by resident teachers from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (OCAO) and short-term training programs in China have prominently improved local Chinese language teachers’ teaching skills and made those schools realize the importance of training teachers again.

Zheng Mianfa believed that it is far from enough if they solely rely on the assistance of teachers from China. Only through fostering and reserving local teachers can they ensure the long-term and stable development of those Chinese schools.

In order to tackle the problem of a shortage of Chinese language teachers in Cambodia, Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia has established a training center for Cambodian Chinese language teachers and officially started classes in May with the support from OCAO and Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, putting an end to the period of time when there are no local Chinese language normal education schools.

Fang Qiaosheng, President of Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia, said that low incomes, complicated work, long working time and other problems make “teachers” less attractive in the job market of Cambodia. Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia will take gradual steps to address the problems of teachers’ welfare, improve their living standards and let them embrace greater honor from their profession.

It’s reported that the training center for Cambodian Chinese language teachers sets the goal of drawing 100 trainees for its first session. It provides free accommodation for trainees from other provinces with 150 USD as living expenses per month, and it also provides every trainee from Phnom Penh with 120 USD as living expenses per month. Currently, there are 63 trainees in this center. 6 teachers from OCAO and volunteer teachers from Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) have been helping trainees to comprehensively improve their teaching skills through basic Chinese courses including pronunciation, characters and phrases, practice courses including oral Chinese and reading as well as educational psychology and teaching methods.

Xie Suling is one of the trainees attending the first session in the center. She told the reporters that she started to learn Chinese language at the age of 6 at Duan Hua (Toun Fa) Chinese School with the dream of being able to speak Chinese as fluent as those teachers from China. “I hope I can also be a qualified Chinese language teacher one day,” she said.

(Story by Mao Pengfei, Xinhua News Agency, Phnom Penh, June 2nd)

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