The inclusion of Chinese language as a curriculum in Saudi Arabia at all stages of education in the Kingdom stems from the desire to diversify the language tools in education, which is based on the strategic and economic importance of the Chinese language.
The Ministry of Education launched the “Teaching Chinese Language in Education” workshop at the ministry’s headquarters in Riyadh on Saturday. It was attended by the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom, officials from the Chinese Embassy, presidents of Saudi universities and education officials in the Kingdom.
Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh said that the inclusion of the Chinese language in the various stages of education in the Kingdom stemmed from the desire to diversify the language tools in education, based on the strategic and economic importance of the Chinese language now and in the future.
He also stressed the importance of having a clear plan to qualify a number of teachers in intensive programs for up to a year to teach Chinese for the target stages, which could include selected schools from the secondary level in different regions in the first three years.
“There is a plan for numerical expansion, based on the requirements and expansion of the intermediate educational stage,” he said. “This expansion should be accompanied by training a number of teachers in programs developed in cooperation with the Chinese side for a year and with the department of external education to qualify teachers to teach Chinese.”
King Saud University reviewed the experience of teaching the Chinese language in the workshop, indicating that it had begun to introduce Chinese since 2010, and has graduated 35 students so far. They are currently working in the ministries of foreign affairs, media and a number of military sectors and during the pilgrimage seasons.
“When we say China or the Chinese economy is expected to be the primary economy (in the world) in eight years, this means establishing a strong relationship with this economy based on the common interests of the two countries,” Al-Asheikh said.
He said that the overall strategic goal of teaching Chinese was to make it the third language parallel to English and with the same level of horizontal and vertical spread in the two education systems.
Al-Asheikh expressed his optimism about the strategic direction of increasing cooperation between the Kingdom and China as great economies and civilizations.