Confucius Institute eyed at Saudi college

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/10 22:23:40

Agreement signing ceremony on provision of Chinese language instructors between the Confucius Institute Headquarters and King Saud University Photo: Chen Xi/GT

China will help King Saud University (KSU), the most prestigious university in Saudi Arabia, to build a Chinese language department, with establishing a Confucius Institute in the university in a further plan to be discussed, a move that will contribute to the cultural communication between China and Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after KSU President Badran Al-Omar signed an agreement for the provision of Chinese language instructors with Ma Jianfei, deputy chief executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing on Monday.

"The Confucius Institute has a good reputation in the world, and I am very pleased to sign the agreement because it will help the university better carry out Chinese language teaching and contribute to the development of bilateral relations," said the KSU president.

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Education has established a Chinese language coordinating committee, and is working with the Confucius Institute Headquarters to strengthen the training of Chinese teachers and accelerate the promotion of Chinese language instruction in Saudi schools, the president said.

"We are willing to maintain close ties with KSU and other schools in Saudi Arabia to cooperate in the language training of local teachers in Saudi Arabia, and the development of Arabic-language textbooks on Chinese language learning," Ma said.

"Arabic language and culture at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) have a long history, and the university has been working closely with relevant educational institutions in Saudi Arabia for many years. We will discuss the establishment of the Confucius Institute in KSU in the next step," said Liu Li, BLCU president.

As the oldest and most prestigious university in Saudi Arabia, KSU is the first university in Saudi Arabia to offer Chinese language courses. The school opened Chinese language courses in 2010 and has trained 35 students, according to a document the Confucius Institute Headquarters sent to the Global Times on Monday.

The university is preparing to build a Chinese language department with help from two to four teachers sent by the Confucius Institute Headquarters .

Saudi Arabia and China agreed to include Chinese language in the curriculum in Saudi schools  and universities during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to Beijing in February, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

There are 548 Confucius Institutes in 154 countries and regions, including Lebanon, Dubai, and Turkey in the Middle East, according to the Confucius Institute Headquarters' website.


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