Feature: Initiative launched to facilitate Egyptian students' Chinese language learning


CAIRO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- At the Al Jazeera Official Experimental Languages School in downtown Cairo, a group of volunteers held a range of interactive activities on Chinese customs, symbols and language on Monday to help Egyptian students better understand China and the Chinese language.

The activities are part of a three-day initiative launched by the Chinese Bridge Club in Cairo to facilitate Egyptian students' Chinese language learning, after a pilot program for teaching the Chinese language began in September in 12 Egyptian public middle schools.

During Monday's event, a promotional video on China was screened to help participants gain some knowledge about the country's history and landmark sites.

Volunteers also performed Chinese martial arts and joined students in interactive activities such as guessing words.

"I love China so much... I have always wanted to visit this great country, that's why I want to learn the Chinese language," Qugaya Sherif, a seventh-grade student, told Xinhua during the activities.

"Studying a foreign language is always good," the 13-year-old girl said, adding the initiative to teach Chinese as an optional second foreign language in Egyptian schools offers her "a great opportunity" to learn a language that she likes.

Zhang Huasheng, science and technology counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, said during the event he was glad that many Egyptian students welcomed the idea of learning Chinese.

"This is the result of the continuous strengthening of the friendship between China and Egypt, and it is a significant proof of the ongoing development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Egypt," he said.

As more people have started learning Chinese, it has gradually become the "bridge of culture and friendship" that connects China with the rest of the world, he said.

"Now, optional Chinese language courses are offered in Egyptian schools, which means that more Egyptian friends will learn Chinese and enhance their understanding of China," he noted.

For her part, Sahar al-Gamal, principal of the Al Jazeera Official Experimental Languages School, said the school would do its best make the project a success and "contribute to promoting the awareness of learning the Chinese language."

In September 2020, China and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding to teach Chinese as an optional second foreign language in Egyptian primary and secondary schools, Zhang Tao, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Egypt, revealed in a video message in late September.

Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the pilot program has been launched one year earlier than planned, according to Zhang Tao.

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