Chinese language courses to be launched at 60 UAE schools from September

The Ministry of Education is recruiting 150 new teachers to serve a 'growing interest' in the country

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , OCT 1  ��� 2017 :-  Left to Right - Stephanie Finley and Prisha Gupta year 5 students learning Chinese language at the Hartland International School in Nad Al Sheba in Dubai.  ( Pawan Singh / The National ) Story by Roberta
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Chinese language courses will be taught at 60 schools across the UAE from September, the Ministry of Education has announced.

The ministry has launched a drive to recruit 150 Chinese language teachers for the programme.

Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, signed an agreement to roll out Chinese language lessons in the UAE during Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's three-day visit to Beijing.

The move has been made to meet the "growing interest among Emirati people to understand Chinese language and culture', state news agency Wam reported.

Chinese will be taught to grade 7 to grade 12 pupils at the selected government schools - the identities of which have not been disclosed - in the first phase of the international initiative.

According to a report produced by the ministry in preparation for the scheme, 18-part books, entitled Across the Silk Route, will be used to teach students during the 2019-220 academic year.

The book series will focus on developing learners' speaking, reading, listening and writing skills with the aim of establishing a solid foundation of vocabulary and communication.

Other publications are being developed in partnership with China's Nishan Press to help students to better understand Chinese culture through subjects such as art, design, mathematics, geography, science, history and literature.

The programme will be implemented in Ministry of Education schools over the next three years.

Plans are in motion to introduce a Chinese Centre at the ministry to give specialists from the country a base to monitor and evaluate the progress of the project.

"Continuous support from both the UAE and China is of vital importance to the sustainable development of Chinese learning and teaching at schools," the ministry report highlighted.

In 2017, Ministry of Education officials visted Beijing to discuss the implementation of the programme.

Later that year,  the first 20 Chinese language teachers were recruited and deployed to 11 public schools to teach Chinese to grade 10 learners.

The UAE Ministry of Education announced last year that Chinese language would be taught in 100 schools in 2019 through student clubs, to pupils from the ninth to the 12th grade.