Lovemore Chikova in BEIJING, China
The teaching of Chinese language at First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s school in Mazowe will produce a generation keen to enhance relations between the Asian country and Zimbabwe, an official has said.
Beijing International Chinese College (BICC) vice president Ms Gui Fan said that they were happy to co-operate with the First Lady.
She said language was important in relations between countries and graduates from the school would be expected to make life easier for both countries through enhanced communication.
After noticing the gap in cultural exchanges between the two countries, Amai Mugabe asked the Chinese government to provide Chinese language teachers at her Amai Mugabe Junior School that was established a few years ago.
This resulted in BICC sending two educators at a time to the school, who are teaching the Chinese language to pupils from pre-school to Grade Seven.
Amai Mugabe herself enrolled for Chinese language at Renmin University of China in 2007 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese in 2011.
“The teaching of Chinese language at the school is important,” said Ms Fan.
“BICC has discovered that the kids are keen to learn Chinese and they really love it. It is a generation that will bring the two countries together and increase co-operation through easy communication. So, we are happy to do this co-operation with Zimbabwe.”
Ms Fan said the visit to the school by Chinese First Lady Madame Peng Liyuan in December last year was a milestone in the co-operation between China and Zimbabwe.
She said it was important that Amai Mugabe’s school acts as the epicentre of teaching Chinese in Zimbabwe.
“In the near future, we really want to expand our services of Chinese language teaching into other regions in Zimbabwe,” said Ms Fan.
“We are going to rely on our teachers there to teach in the schools. On the other hand, we also want to help residents around the school area to learn Chinese.
“We started to send our Chinese teachers to the junior school after the approval by the Zimbabwean Government and the first batch of the teachers is back and we have since sent another batch there. We really need this cultural exchange and we want the Chinese government to continue sending Chinese teachers to teach the language and culture.”
During her visit to the school, the Chinese First Lady was enthralled by the philanthropic work being carried out by Amai Mugabe, who also runs a children’s home at the centre which caters for orphans.
“It is simply great that we have two Chinese teachers here and from the song they (children) sang when we came here, I can tell they are doing well,” she said.
“Though there is a great distance between our countries, our hearts are always together.”
During the visit, Amai Mugabe chronicled how she set up the children’s home and the Amai Mugabe Junior School with the assistance of the Chinese.
One of the former Chinese teachers at the school, Ms Gao Yuan, yesterday hailed the First Lady for considering the Chinese language.
“During my time there, the First Lady visited the school several times,” she said.
“It was my great pleasure to see her at the campus. The first impression I got was that the First Lady was tall, very elegant and beautiful. She cares for a lot of children at the place and she also donates a lot to the school to ensure that the children, who live in cluster families, have sweet lives and I do appreciate what the First Lady is doing to the kids.”