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S. Africa formalising Mandarin teaching: minister

Updated: 2016-03-08 09:20

JOHANNESBURG - The process of formalising the policy for the teaching of Mandarin is at an advanced stage, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said on Monday.

The Gauteng Department of Education is piloting the teaching of the Chinese language in South African Schools, mainly in the Tshwane South District, Motshekga said at the launch of a planetarium at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg.

There are 14 schools which are currently teaching the Chinese language and a list of 13 new schools has been proposed for 2016, according to the minister.

"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. We are also looking at establishing e-learning classrooms for the pilot schools teaching Mandarin," the minister said.

To further promote Mandarin teaching, a team from South Africa will undertake a study tour to China in order to study, visit schools and engage with Chinese counterparts regarding the technical and vocational education streams, Motshekga said.

A dialogue on educational policy and research between China and South Africa is being planned in partnership with the Chinese National Institute of Education Sciences (CNIES), according to the minister.

The main focus of this dialogue will be the maths, science and technology (MST) education and will entail comparing curricula of the two countries, amongst other issues, she said.

A group of Chinese experts in MST education will visit South Africa for this dialogue, Motshekga said.

This is where a number of possible research areas will be identified on the work lying ahead, she said.

Beyond the sharing of curriculum and research issues, the main objective of this dialogue is breaking the mould in the cooperation within the MST education, she said.

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.


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