Friday, March 10, 2023

Mandarin Chinese is considered an important language worldwide because of its increase in the business world and as such achieving a high level of proficiency in Mandarin is often seen as a mark of intelligence and academic achievement. In addition, it is also seen as an added advantage since it opens market opportunities which include: teaching, commerce, writing, marketing, engineering and managerial jobs. The Chinese language is closely intertwined with the Chinese grading system, Chinese students are evaluated on a four-point grading system, with scores ranging from 0-100. The Chinese proficiency grading system refers to the achievements of multi-disciplinary studies that can help meet the requirements of Chinese learning, teaching and testing. Grading system is committed to building new standards, new modes and new systems. It pays attention to the development strategy: from teaching Chinese to the speakers of other languages to all-round international Chinese promotion, shifting of work focus from invite foreigners in to learn Chinese to go abroad to teach chinese and shifting from promotion philosophy: from teaching Chinese for special purposes to popularization. Recently on Saturday, 25th February, 2023, the University of Nairobi held a hybrid Chinese Proficiency Grading Standards workshop at the Confucius Institute. This was the first such workshop in Africa, and incorporated all African countries that teach Chinese language and culture. The workshop included keynote lecture, speeches, discussions groups and summaries.

Previously, the Centre for language Education and Cooperation, an institution under China’s Ministry of Education, published new grading standards for international Chinese language education on 24th March 2021 and implemented on 1st July 2021.

In the workshop, Prof.  Stephen Kiama, Vice Chancellor University of Nairobi said that the university has worked with China Tianjin Normal University to nurture excellent local Chinese language teachers.

 “This is the most authoritative standard to guide global Chinese language teaching. Therefore, it is imperative for all local Chinese language teachers to have thorough understanding of the standards,” said Prof. Kiama.

Prof. Kiama further added that teachers are required to localize teaching under the guidance of these standards, which is why the university has incorporated localized teaching demonstrations into its agenda.

The President of Tianjin Normal University and the International Society for Chinese Language Teaching emphasized that the workshop will help more local teachers fully comprehend the grading standards and apply them to a variety of teaching activities such as classroom instruction, textbook writing and assessment and continuously advance their Chinese instruction standards focusing on the topic: The significance and content of “grading standards”.

 According to the University of Nairobi, the workshop which saw more than 200 people attend will be instrumental in planning and implementing Chinese language education in Kenya.