The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)-based Confucius Institute (CI) Chinese Director, Zhang Xiaozhen, said this while opening a Martial Arts Performance, which is part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of China – Tanzania Diplomatic Relations, at Mbezi Beach High School in Dar es Salaam.
Zhang said that each year, at least 20 students are invited to a familiarization trip in China but following a directive by the Chinese Vice- President, Li Yuanchao, last month, the number will now be increased.
Opening a conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa, Li ordered the number to be increased to 100. “During the tour the students will learn Chinese language, kungfu, choreography and visit historical sites in China,” Zhang said.
She said that the aim of doing this is to meet Tanzania’s growing need of understanding Chinese language, culture, technology and skills and to increase mutual understanding between the people of China and Tanzania.
“We want to expand the language skills in Tanzania by complementing it with other existing languages such as Kiswahili, English and to some extent French,” she explained.
However, Zhang urged students to enrol at CI in order to learn Chinese language to strengthen the two countries relationships. On his part, the Deputy Headmaster of Mbezi Beach High School, Sijale Enosh, said that the school is honoured to get an opportunity for its students to be exposed to Chinese culture.
“Being our first time to collaborate with the Chinese we are looking forward to our students to learn a lot from them,” he said. Enosh said that as a process of learning, students need to engage in recreational activities to refresh their minds.
CI was established at UDSM in January 2013, after the university signed an agreement with the institute’s headquarters in Beijing, China.
The cooperative university in China is Zhejiang Normal University (ZNU) which is the first university in China to own the Institute of African Studies and the African museum.
Confucius Institute at UDSM was launched on October 9, last year, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International and Cooperation, Bernard Membe, and Vice-Governor of Zhejiang Province, Huang Xuming. CI offers Chinese language short courses since the beginning of 2013/2014 academic year.
In the year 2014/2015, CI intends to introduce the General Chinese language as an optional course for UDSM students. In addition, CI also provides courses for pupils at Mlimani Primary School and Sunrise Primary School.
The Institute offers scholarships to Tanzanian students. Each year five categories of scholarships (2-year Master’s degree in Chinese language, 1-year study, 4-year Bachelor’s degree, one academic year or one semester language study) are offered.