African Confucius Institutes Venture out of Campus
Chinese Language Proficiency a Must in Workplace

[Source]    people.com.cn - People's Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2018-06-13 14:09:36 
 

On April 21st, local time, the amphitheater at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone was crowded as the First Companies Exhibition and Job Fair in Sierra Leone was held. Over 50 Chinese and foreign enterprises including China Railway Seventh Group Co., Ltd., Sierra Leone Commercial Bank offered over 3,500 jobs, attracting over 3000 local college graduates and other job-seekers to prospects of job interviews.


First Companies Exhibition and Job Fair in Sierra Leone

“These jobs cover varied fields like construction engineering, marketing and medical services. According to our statistics so far, the Chinese enterprises alone have hired 338 local college graduates,” said He Mingqing, Director of the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone as he vividly recalled the event held more than a month ago.

Setting up Chinese teaching sites within enterprises

The job fair was hosted by the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone. “To host and coordinate the job fair was the extension of our consistent idea that the Confucius Institute should carry out its duty of serving the local community by actively conducting exchanges and cooperation with local Chinese enterprises and institutions as well as teaching the local people Chinese and promoting Chinese culture there,” said He.

In order to further strengthen its exchanges and cooperation with Chinese enterprises and institutions, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone has made an agreement on providing customized language training for Chinese enterprises and institutions in Sierra Leone including the Sierra Leone Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Commercial Chamber, and Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd. Among the enterprises, the Confucius Institute has cooperated with Sierra Leone Mining Company of Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd., the current largest Chinese enterprise in Sierra Leone, since 2016.


The Chinese training class for senior officers of Sierra Leone Mining Company of Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd.

“We set up Chinese teaching sites inside the venue in 2016, so as to teach the middle and senior managers Chinese language and Chinese culture,” said He.

Meanwhile, based on the local conditions, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone has conducted cooperation with some high-profile local enterprises including Lumley Fishery Company, a famous fishery company in the local fishery industry, whose staff were taught Chinese and given related skill training. “The teaching conditions were very tough since the classroom was merely a space in the refrigeration storage. However, everyone has finished their training. Whenever I go past the company, the local staff will greet me passionately with the Chinese phrase ‘zhong guo peng you, ni hao’,” said He.

Linking HSK with personnel recruitment

In addition to the exchanges and cooperation with local Chinese enterprises, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone has grown into a pool of talent for local Chinese enterprises and is dedicated to actively exploring ways to link HSK with personnel recruitment in enterprises, which in an important part of its function.

“It is because enterprises often ask us to recommend related candidates that the Confucius Institute has come up with the idea that we should link Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) with personnel recruitment in enterprises, which is supported by some enterprises.” According to He, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone has signed up for the Direct Employment Cooperation Agreement for College Graduates with Sierra Leone Mining Company of Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd., Bintumani Hotel and other enterprises successively. In the agreement, HSK is taken as the reference to personnel recruitment and promotion in enterprises as well as a prerequisite for applying for the summer camp and scholarship of the Confucius Institute.

It is important to improve learners’ ability to use Chinese in the workplace so as to meet the need of the enterprises. What makes He proud is that teachers of the Confucius Institute compiled a book called Business Chinese Conversation and incorporated explanations of related mining terms into their teaching when they provided training for Sierra Leone Mining Company of Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd. “This embodies the idea of facilitating teaching by examinations and combining examinations with teaching.”


Unveiling Ceremony of the teaching site of Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital

In April this year, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone also set up a Chinese teaching site in Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital with the help of Chinese Medical Team in Sierra Leone. For example, Zeng Yun, a teacher of the Confucius Institute, and Dr. Xie Weibin, a doctor specialized in TCM in the medical team, worked together in teaching TCM and compiled a book called 100 Common Chinese Sentences for Medical Treatment. The Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone also plans to promote TCM through teaching in another local hospital named African Health Hospital.

“Language teaching serving as a stage for culture promotion”

In addition to the Chinese teaching sites set up in related enterprises, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone also holds all kinds of featured cultural activities. He Mingqing calls it “making language teaching serve as a stage for culture promotion”.

According to He, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone offers lectures on Chinese culture and experience classes of traditional Chinese culture in accordance with the reality in each teaching site, combining Chinese culture teaching with the development of corporate culture. For example, Tai Chi and martial arts courses are offered to learners. In the experience classes of Chinese culture, under the guidance of teachers, students can learn to use chopsticks, sing Chinese songs, write with brush, and draw facial masks of Beijing Opera.

Apart from introducing Chinese culture in teaching, the Confucius Institute at University of Sierra Leone held the first Chinese Songs Contest in 2016, in which contestants presented a Sierra Leone version of the Voice of China. “I like Chinese and I really want to learn it well. So learning to sing Chinese songs is a good way to learn Chinese,” said Ma Gai from the University of Sierra Leone, who amazed the judges and the audience in the end.

“This contest, which enabled students to experience Chinese and Chinese culture by singing Chinese songs, was also one of our explorations for the experiencing Chinese culture through interaction, which is advocated by us,” said He.

(Story by Zhao Xiaoxia, People’s Daily Overseas Edition Page 9, June 8th, 2018)

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