Ministry of Education

The Far East Meets the Middle East in Riyadh: Saudi and Chinese Delegations Convene to Establish Chinese Language Programs in the Kingdom

  Several weeks ago, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, met with a delegation of high-level government officials of the People's Republic of China on a diplomatic mission. The parties agreed to increasing the level of economic and social collaboration between the two nations.   In support of these cooperative efforts, His Royal Highness committed to teaching the Chinese language in primary schools, secondary schools, and universities in the Kingdom. The People's Republic of China agreed to help facilitate Chinese language learning through its own Ministry of Education.   The Confucius Institute is a Chinese Ministry of Education outreach initiative that is used to promote Chinese language learning and cultural exchange on an international basis. The Institute sends Chinese language teacher/representatives to schools and universities around the world. Many of the Chinese teachers sent abroad are college graduates who are trained as Chinese language instructors for non-native speakers. The cost of the program is shared by the Chinese government and the international host. Schools around the Kingdom will be hosting the Chinese teachers.   King Khalid University has already taken substantial steps to implement this new program. The Faculty of Languages & Translation is spearheading the effort on behalf of the university. Faculty of Languages & Translation Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi is leading the initiative for King Khalid University.   On April 26, 2019, a Chinese delegation flew to Riyadh to meet with several prominent Saudi universities including: King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, Tabuk University, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, and of course King Khalid University. Dean Al-Melhi met with the Chinese delegates, Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) Deputy Director-General, Yu Yunfeng, and Beijing Language and Culture University Vice President, Zhang Baojun. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the planning process for programs at the respective universities.   Deputy Director-General Yunfeng said (by way of an interpreter) "I am pleased to be a part of this new venture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am so glad that our two nations have joined in cooperation for our mutual benefit." Vice President Baojun said (also through an interpreter) "We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship between our two countries. All of us have so much we can teach and learn from one another."   After much discussion between and among the attendees, the Saudi representatives of the various institutions arranged for follow-up actions that will allow the initiatives to proceed quickly and in an orderly fashion. Great progress was made with the Chinese delegation on establishing preliminary logistics requirements and resource allocation at King Khalid University.   Dean Al-Melhi noted "This was more than your basic 'meet & greet'. The Chinese language initiative is an ambitious project with an aggressive schedule. Bringing this program to fruition will require a high level of cooperation and hard work among all stakeholders. We have already negotiated certain plans, and the project is moving forward. This is such a large undertaking, and it requires that an entirely new department be created under the Faculty of Languages & Translation. We will stay focused and on point; ultimately we will succeed."   The Faculty of Languages & Translation is committed to the Chinese language initiative and to improving the university's existing language programs. Language learning is an important component of the national socio-economic development plans, and an essential part of Vision 2030. King Khalid University is dedicated to achieving regional, national and international goals while encouraging good citizenship and social cohesion. Date: 4-27-2019 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
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