"Chinese +" Program Helps Countries Cultivate All-round Talents: Confucius Institute Developing New Ways to Drive Sustainable Development of Chinese Language Teaching

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2020-05-15 15:52:37 

With the development of economic globalization, more and more people come to realize the importance of learning Chinese language, which not only broadens one’s vision and thinking, but also provides job opportunities for learners. In order to meet the needs in language training and technical talents cultivation across the globe, the Confucius Institute launches "Chinese +" program to help countries to cultivate all-round talents and promote international cooperation in vocational education.

Talents Who Can Speak Chinese Are Getting Valued Amid Development of Global Economy

Recent years have seen a growing demand for all-round technical talents, especially those who master Chinese language. Seeing the trend, the Confucius Institute launches "Chinese +" courses in more than 40 countries around the world, covering dozens of fields such as high-speed rail, economy and trade, tourism, law, customs, aviation.

In 2014, China and Thailand launched education and training cooperation program in the field of railway. With the promotion of the program, Thailand's demand for talents who master both railway technology and Chinese was greatly increased. Giving full play to its advantages, the Confucius Institute at Khon Kaen University launched the "Chinese Language Training Program of China-Thailand High Speed Railway". By the end of 2019, the Confucius Institute of Khon Kaen University has trained more than 200 talents mastering both railway technology and Chinese language, which has been highly recognized by Thailand government and its society.

In Ethiopia, the Confucius Institute at Technical & Vocational Education and Training Institute of Ethiopia has set up an "innovative electronic technology laboratory", and it has opened basic course that integrates Chinese language and single chip microcomputer control department as well as advanced course that integrates Chinese language and robot technology, with nearly 500 registered students in one school year alone. This move plays an initial role in the training of robot-related technical talents in the country.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Confucius Institute at Kiev State Linguistic University and Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), passengers can get Chinese language service on Kiev's direct flight to Beijing. "I try my best to communicate in Chinese with passengers from China during my work. Chinese helps a lot in our general work, especially when we handle special events," said Maria Kobzeva, an attendant of UIA.

In Japan, the Confucius Institute at Kansai Gaidai University opened a course called "Chinese learning for flight attendants" in 2017. The course is targeted at students in the university who have passed HSK-4 or above and intend to have a career in aviation in the future.

As of the autumn semester of 2019, the "Chinese learning for flight attendants" course has been held for three years, or six semesters in a row. Another class has been added and over 180 students sign up for the course. Meanwhile, the Confucius Institute at Kansai Gaidai University has opened some characteristic Chinese-related courses, such as business Chinese, medical Chinese, global career planning research, further integrating Chinese learning and career of its students.

Since its establishment in 2007, Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli in Italy has offered "Chinese + business" courses to meet the needs of learners with higher Chinese proficiency. "Fortunately, there are more and more people signing up for the course." Mr. Xu Haiming, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute said.

Many of the participants having taken the course of "Chinese + business" at Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli now work in banks, airports or other China-related companies. "By taking the course of "Chinese + business", students can get more options when applying for jobs and they can also enrich their life experience", said Xu Haiming.

Hearing greetings in Chinese from customs officers at the airport in Accra, capital city of Ghana should not be something you feel surprised at. The "Chinese +" training course offered by the Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana for customs staff has brought tangible changes to their work.

In the customs working area of Kotoka International Airport, staff member Eden greets her colleagues in Chinese "nihao"(hello). "Learning Chinese enables me to better communicate with Chinese tourists. It helps to facilitates our work and improve our service quality," she said.

In Dominica, the Confucius Institute at Santo Domingo University of Technology offers online Chinese courses for the company HAYCO. Teachers have made sufficient preparations according to characteristics of opening Chinese course within an enterprise. In the production of PPT, teachers try their best to offer a special audio-visual experience to students from the enterprise by enriching the course content and adding more pictures and videos in it.

Recently, the first stage of Chinese course within the enterprise has ended. According to the company's feedback, students are very satisfied with what they’ve learned from online teaching, and they are ready to move on to the second stage of online learning.

Juan, Senior Director of Equipment of the company, said: "I prefer offline teaching, but I believe I can learn Chinese very well through this online course because of the teachers' dedication, full preparation and very active atmosphere during the class. We all know that language learning can only be pursued through efforts and perseverance over a long period. I believe that as long as we keep going, we can learn Chinese well. Besides, what we do at work is closely linked with China, and learning Chinese well would be very helpful to us. "

Confucius Institute Join Hands with Chinese Enterprises to Offer More Job Opportunities through “Chinese+” Program

With the development of "Chinese +" vocational education, the Confucius Institute has also provided more students with more Chinese vocational education training and job opportunities by joining hands with Chinese enterprises.

Confucius Institute at Mahasarakham University in Thailand signed a cooperation agreement with Guangken Rubber (Mekong) Co., Ltd. earlier on to carry out in-depth exchanges in production, learning and research.

According to He Dong, Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at Mahasarakham University, this Confucius Institute branch is an education institution jointly established by Guangxi University for Nationalities and Mahasarakham University. The establishment of long-term strategic partnership between the two sides not only facilitates the integration of production, learning and research, but also realizes the sharing of talent teaching practice and resources, and jointly promotes cultural exchanges between China and Thailand.

The cooperation comes as part of the move as Confucius Institute at Mahasarakham University actively carries out Chinese teaching, Chinese culture promotion and cultural exchanges. The Confucius Institute has set up a Chinese teaching experiment site and a teaching practice base in Guangken Rubber (Mekong) Co., Ltd. to provide practice platform for students from the Confucius Institute, as well as staff training and other services for the company to promote Chinese language teaching and cultural communication.

With the advancement of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan's demand for welding technicians has greatly increased. To address the trending needs, a teaching and training agreement on "Chinese language + welding technology" has been signed between the Confucius Institute at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad and Sahiwal Power Plant of China Huaneng Group Shandong Ruyi (Pakistan) Energy Co., Ltd., a priority project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The "Chinese language + welding technology" training course comes with 1160 class hours in total and is divided into two stages: Chinese training and practice training. In the first stage, Chinese training stage, students are systematically trained to improve Chinese language skills through 360 hours’ immersive learning in 12 weeks, and the teachers of Confucius Institute would help students reach HSK level III in a short period of time by adopting centralized and intensive training mode. In the middle and later period of this stage, after students reach required Chinese proficiency level, Chinese knowledge related to welding technology would be added into teaching content to get students prepared for welding training in next stage.

In the second stage, practical training stage, trainees would take theory and practice course for 800 class hours in six months. Professional technicians would carry out practice teaching by combining theoretical knowledge of welding technology with the practical application to help students have a good command of welding technology.

Students benefit a lot from the first stage of Chinese learning. They can speak Chinese well in their daily conversation now. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students having signed up for HSK Level 3 and HSKK Primary-level examination fail to take tests as scheduled, but they have confidence that they can pass HSK examination through the training and then apply for the Confucius Institute Scholarship to pursue further study in China, or seek a job in their country after the training of welding technology, so as to contribute to the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In Egypt, the Confucius Institute at Suez Canal University works closely with local Chinese companies in talents cultivation. According to one in charge of the Confucius Institute at Suez Canal University, there are dozens of Chinese companies in Suez Canal Economic Zone and they have created many jobs for local people. Many Chinese companies in Egypt prefer to hire Egyptian employees who can speak Chinese, and they have a great demand for talents who can both speak Chinese and master other skills. Many Egyptian students were employed at the Chinese enterprise recruitment fair held by Confucius Institute.

“My Life Is Getting Wonderful Thanks to the ‘Chinese +’ Program”

Anupa Tipala, a young man from Thailand, has a dream to be a train driver since his childhood. Thanks to Belt and Road Initiative, Anupa won a scholarship to study Railway Technology in China last year.

It's not easy to be a train driver in Thailand. Applicants must first be admitted to Thailand Railway Engineering Institute. For some reasons, Anupa could not apply for the college. In 2014, China and Thailand signed the memorandum of understanding on China-Thailand railway cooperation. Since then, the two countries have launched education and training cooperation projects in railway-related fields.

"One day, I happened to see on Facebook that Banphai Industrial and Community Education College sent students to China to study in railway-related majors." Anupa recalls. Later, he successfully applied for admission to the college and went to Wuhan to study Chinese and railway knowledge under "Chinese Training Program for China-Thailand High Speed Railway".

In China, Anupa took high-speed rail for the first time, which completely changes his perception about the railway, making him a strong supporter of the construction of high-speed rail in Thailand. After returning from studying in Wuhan, Anupa took part in the "2019 Vocational Education Scholarship for Tianjin and Thailand" exam held by Thailand’s Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute. He stood out from the competition and won the scholarship for him to study in Tianjin Railway Technical and Vocational College for three years.

"I really want to see Anupa returns to Thailand and becomes a high-speed train driver," Anupa’s grandma said in tears when she saw Anupa embarks on the dream-pursuing journey from Sukhothai, where he grew up.

Li Feiyun, an outstanding student of Thailand's Chiangrai Vocational College, said: "I attended the summer camp organized by the Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute two years ago and went to study in Tianjin Normal University for 15 days. During my stay there, I was impressed by the rapid development of China's economy and the convenience people are enjoying in their life. After coming back from China, I learn Chinese every day and I hope I can seize this opportunity to go to China to study again."

In Myanmar, teachers of the Confucius Classroom at Eastern language &Business Centre taught Chinese to civil servants of the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar. According to Than Myint, Director of the Trade Training Institute the Ministry of Commerce has organized Chinese learning for civil servants in this country since 2017, with about 60 people taking the language learning course a year. As trade between Myanmar and China continues to grow, it is more and more important for Myanmar's civil servants to learn Chinese, which would be of great help to the work in the Ministry of Commerce.

Yan Sheng, 25, working in Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar, has learned Chinese for 3 years. He said that there are many meetings and activities on Myanmar-China trade, but there is no translator or Chinese experts present. The language barrier requires them to learn Chinese. He also wants to apply for scholarships from the Chinese government and go to universities in Yunnan, Sichuan or Shanghai for further study.

Emma, an excellent student who once received Chinese language training at Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast, said, "Through those interesting training courses, I can understand Chinese culture and the Chinese way of doing things better. It is very useful for employees to adapt themselves to Chinese enterprise."

Duncan, a Chinese major at the University of Ghana, believes that learning Chinese has opened a "door of opportunity" for him. China is now a country with rapid development. More and more Ghanaians have turned their attention from European and American countries to China.

"There are many Chinese investors in Ghana. They provide a lot of jobs for local people, so it would be very helpful for them in job-seeking if they can speak Chinese." Duncan said.

Xu Haiming, Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli, said: "participating in the 'Chinese +' Program is not only about learning Chinese language, but also about acquiring job-hunting skills. That’s why such programs continue to thrive."

In the spirit of meeting local needs of social development, "Chinese +" Program aims to offering new thinking on characteristic school-running such as TCM, agriculture, tourism, business, vocational skills by adopting a teaching mode combining Chinese language learning and professional skills. The program helps to boost development of Chinese-funded enterprises in overseas market, provide more job options and higher employment platforms for students of Confucius Institute, blazing a trail of rich contents and special needs and driving sustainable development of the Confucius Institute.

Source: Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily Overseas Edition, Confucius Institute at Mahasarakham University, Confucius Institute at Santo Domingo University of Technology, Confucius Institute at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Confucius Institute at Khon Kaen University, Confucius Institute at National University of Equatorial Guinea, Confucius Institute at Technical & Vocational Education and Training Institute of Ethiopia, Confucius Institute at Kiev State Linguistic University, Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana, Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast, Maritime Silk Road Confucius Institute