On photo: Prof Bernard Nthambeleni (3rd from left) poses for a photo with Chinese staff and Dr Segun Obadire (2nd from right)

“In 6 months, I will be fluent. I will be a Chinese.” said Kaevin Mapila(马开文), a student from the newly opened Chinese language class by Green Technology Confucius Institute (GTCI), the collaboration programme between the University of Venda and Hubei University of Technology in China. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the joint programme was signed in August 2023 during the Chinese President XI Jinping’s state visit to South Africa, and the joint programme proudly displayed itself on XI’s South Africa state visit achievement list. On 05 December 2023, UNIVEN held a grand plaque unveiling ceremony for GTCI and the joint programme was officially launched. On 28 February 2024, the Co-Director of GTCI, Prof Grace Ge together with three lecturers, arrived at UNIVEN, and thus symbolising the official operation of GTCI.

On 18 March 2024, after two weeks of preparation, the Chinese language classes at GTCI were officially kick-started. In a survey conducted by the International Relations and Partnerships Directorate, both students and staff at UNIVEN showed great interest in learning the Chinese lessons. Altogether, a total number of 2931 students and staff applied and showed keen interest in the Chinese classes. GTCI has finally registered 320 participants in 14 groups. The classes are attended from Monday to Saturday with each group having a different schedule. Students will attend 40 hours of teaching per first semester and upon graduation, students will receive a certification in Chinese language. Students who passed will then be afforded an opportunity to further learning the language with more advanced courses.

Prof Grace GE, the Co-Director of GTCI, stated that this initiative is currently accommodating UNIVEN staff and students, and it will be extended to the local communities and other institutions at a later stage. In future the Institute is also planning to offer online courses to benefit those who are far from UNIVEN. The UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni, recently visited the Chinese language classes at GTCI and was impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the students. He noted that learning Chinese is an important step towards becoming future leaders in a globalized world.

On photo: GTCI staff: (From left to right) Cynthia LIANG, Joey ZHANG, Grace GE, Yasmine WANG and IRP staff

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 28 March 2024

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