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Chinese language proficiency contest for secondary school students held in Nairobi

Overall winner of the contest Telema Njoki poses for a photo with Tang Jianjun, the counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenyatta University in conjunction with the Chinese Embassy in Kenya hosted the 16th edition of the Chinese Bridge-Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students, the Kenyan Division, in Nairobi.

Senior government officials, diplomats, faculty members, and students graced the event. Participants showcased their understanding of Chinese culture in areas such as folk songs and dances, operas, calligraphy, painting, and martial arts. Contestants also put on show their mastery of Chinese by making a three-minute speech in the Chinese language and working on China’s national knowledge test.

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In the end, Telema Njoki, a junior secondary school student, was crowned the overall winner of the contest. She received gifts and a certificate of honor for emerging top in the competition and will also benefit from a sponsored trip to China later in the year.

In response to the growing market demand for Chinese-speaking professionals, Kenyatta University came up with a course in Chinese Language and Culture (BA), whose first intake will be in September this year.

The assistant director of radio and media at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Susan Mutune noted that holding proficiency in the Chinese language will help students to understand more about China as well as enhance the cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

“The course will help address the current shortage of Chinese teachers required to teach in the 35,000 secondary schools in Kenya. We look forward to building Chinese language competence and proficiency among young learners. This is borne out of the understanding that Mandarin promises vast opportunities for our youth,” said Mutune said

Held under the theme of “Fly high with Chinese,” the counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya Tang Jianjun, noted that being equipped with Chinese language skills and culture will help students to understand China better and enhance friendship between the two countries.

“I hope that more Kenyans will learn the Chinese language and culture so that many people can share the joy of cross-cultural communication and dividends brought by China’s economic boom,” he said.

Indeed, acting deputy vice-chancellor of research innovation and outreach at Kenyatta University Professor Caroline Thoruwa argued that the bridge competition is useful in linking Kenyan students to the world and exposing them to bigger opportunities availed through the China-Kenya collaboration programs in education.

“I want to thank the Chinese Embassy in Kenya for supporting the teaching of Chinese language and culture. It is crucial in empowering and equipping the younger generation with skills to compete globally, transform Kenyan society and foster an amicable relationship between the two countries,” said the Ag. Deputy VC

Chinese Director at Kenyatta University’s Confucius Institute Zhou Xiaodong expressed satisfaction in the event saying the contest provided a platform for the young learners to showcase their understanding of the Chinese language and culture as envisioned by the institution.

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