The Chinese government is sponsoring several classrooms in Namibian schools to teach Mandarin. China’s Ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang inaugurated a Chinese language classroom earlier this week at a the Ella Du Plessis High School in Khomasdal, a suburb of Namibia’s capital of Windhoek. The school is one of several within the central Khomas region that will offer the foreign language classes for two hours after school, the Namibia Press Agency reported Saturday.
Mandarin will soon be taught in schools in other parts of the southern African country such as Katima Mulilo and Ondangwa in the near future. Although the language class is not officially recognized as part of Namibia’s education curriculum, it has received support from local educators. Speaking at the inauguration on Wednesday, Ella Du Plessis High School principal Jakavaza Kavari said learning Mandarin will help Namibian students when they apply for scholarships or pursue careers later.
“We live in a global village where speaking our native language is not enough,” Kavari reportedly said.
Mesag Kandjii, the principal of Highline Secondary School, which is also offering the language classes, said the teachings will be crucial for enhancing skills and cultural development.
“The progress has been very good and the learners even sing Chinese songs. They are learning the language very fast and hopefully they will be fluent within the next few years,” Kandjii reportedly said Wednesday.
In November, Namibia’s education ministry earmarked about $1.3 million to construct additional classrooms in four regions for an anticipated influx of students this year, according to daily newspaper the Namibian. Some 57 percent of Namibia’s 2.3 million population had access to primary education in 2013, according to UNESCO figures.
Namibia’s relations with China date back decades, even prior to the country’s independence from Germany. The Chinese supported Namibia’s fight for independence in the 1960s, and the two nations established diplomatic relations the day after Namibia declared independence in 1990.
Trade between the two countries has flourished in recent years, with China acquiring more investment opportunities in mineral-rich Namibia. The Chinese ambassador to Namibia, Xin Shunkang, said last year the southern African nation is home to more than 40 Chinese companies, which are raking in about $4.6 billion per year, China Daily reported.