Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) Registrar Ebby Mubanga says the introduction of Chinese language in secondary schools should not scare Zambians because it will help students aspiring to study in China’s universities among other benefits.
Recently, Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary Mabvuto Sakala signed a Chinese training agreement between Zambia and China which would officially flag-off the implementation of Chinese language training in secondary schools.
And in an interview with News Diggers! Dr Mubanga observed that if the introduction of Chinese language in Zambian schools was going to bring value to the education system, there was no problem because the country was part of the global village.
“As TCZ, we realise that Zambia is part of the global village and we shall never work in isolation. The education system has always evolved. If the introduction of Chinese language in Zambian schools is going to bring value to the education system of Zambia, there’s no problem. Its not the first time because from time in memorial, we have had French taught in Zambian schools. The official language that we have, English, is a foreign language. I have seen other countries where they have two or three international languages for example, if you go to Europe, you will discover that in certain schools, children learn Germany, they learn Spanish, French, in addition to their local, international languages,” he said.
Dr Mubanga further said the Chinese language would enable students aspiring to study in China, enrol in Chinese universities easily.
“So if we can have another international language like Chinese, that’s not a problem as long as its meant to bring about value so that we also make our students who aspire to study in China, we make it easy for them to enrol in those Chinese universities. Because if a student is enrolled in a Chinese university, the first year they learn Chinese. If a student is enrolled in a Russian university, the first year they learn Russian. This will make it easy for our prospective students to fit into those Chinese universities later,” he said.
“Otherwise the introduction of Chinese in our schools is not something people should be scared of, lets expose our children. We send our children to go and learn in China, language becomes a barrier. This way we shall make it easy for them to fit in so that they also learn about Chinese technology and culture to benefit the country in the long run. So as TCZ we don’t have a problem with that.”
Dr Mubanga however guided that in the beginning, the initial stages of introducing the Chinese language in schools, should be done cautiously.
“But what we can guide is that maybe, in the beginning the initial stages should be done cautiously. We need maybe to ask a lot of questions on how best students are going to be learning Chinese. But I think its doable, its something that we should not fear so much at a distance,” he said.
Dr Mubanga said he didn’t think it was correct to consider the move as a Chinese tactic at capturing Zambia’s future.
“I don’t think that is correct. If we think that’s not well intended, we can agree. The goodness with memorandum of understanding is that when we reach a point where we feel this is not helping us, the memorandum of understanding can be canceled but both parties have to agree. In the memorandum of understanding, there is what we call ‘obligations’, which each party is supposed to satisfy and it is a win win situation on the parties involved. Its not meant to benefit China, nor meant to benefit Zambia but meant to benefit both countries. So lets just be positive,” said Dr Mubanga.