Chinese Mandarin In South African Schools Scoring High


The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said despite strong disapproval of the introduction of Mandarin in schools, report has it that the process of formalizing the policy has greatly improved reaching an advanced stage.

Giving a record of 14 schools currently teaching the Chinese Mandarin, and not less than 13 schools proposed to join in 2016, the Minister said the department is planning to move further ahead by introducing an e-learning classrooms for the pilot schools teaching Mandarin.

Motshekga who was speaking at a recent launch event in Johannesburg said the Chinese government has been supportive to the education board through their provision of text books.

“I am happy to announce that 2,000 textbooks will be donated by the Chinese government to assist in teaching mandarin in schools until a South African textbook is developed.

The Gauteng Department of Education is currently leading the teaching of the Chinese language in South African Schools, mainly in the Tshwane South District.

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Angie Motshekga’s basic education department last year, issued a circular to national and provincial education authorities informing them the Chinese language will be taught in local public schools as of January 2016.

The circular which was titled Circular S10 of 2015: Incremental implementation of Mandarin as a non-official language from 2016-2018″, faced serious criticism by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) who said the new policy would be tantamount to a new form of colonization.

“We’ll oppose the teaching of Mandarin in our schools with everything that we have. As Sadtu we see it as colonization. As much as during colonization some people were complicit in selling our souls, that’s what’s happening [again now]. We’re going to make sure that we’ve got serious campaigns against this particular colonization. We see it as the worst form of imperialism that is going to happen in Africa,” Maluleke said at the time.”Mugwena Maluleke, Sadtu’s general secretary said.

But with only few months of its introduction, the minister reported that the new language is doing well.

The roll-out of Chinese subjects was incrementally implemented in schools with Grades 4-9 and 10 in January 2016, to be followed by Grade 11 in 2017 and Grade 12 in 2018, according to the Department of Basic Education.

According to businesstech, Motshekga said that the Chinese government has in a way to further help promote the spread of the language in schools, committed to the following:

  • Organize experts to compile Chinese language textbooks that are suited to South African conditions;
  • Send 100 teachers and volunteers every year for the next five years to mentor and support local teachers of Mandarin;
  • Train 200 local Chinese language teachers each year for the next five years through local Confucius Institutes;
  • Provide Confucius Institutes Scholarships in China (offer two scholarships for full teaching qualifications in China);
  • Support South African educational institutions to apply for opening of Confucius Institutes/classrooms; and
  • Send the Chinese Language Advisor to work on setting up systems for introduction of teaching of Chinese Language in South African schools.
  • The Chinese government has also committed two scholarships for the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

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