Chinese language is gaining in popularity among Ghanaian elementary school students

ACCRA, 5 June (Xinhua) – Mondays mark the start of a new school week. Teachers use this time to prepare for the academic work they will do during the coming week.

It was the same at the Happy Heart Montessori school in Dome Pillar 2 – a suburb near Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The pupils were taking their classes, listening to their teachers or writing exams.

Alvin Quartey was one of the students who led the class in one classroom to read the Chinese words that were written on the whiteboard. The school administrator Doreenda Kotei supervised the students as they took turns in Chinese and translated some Chinese words to English.

Irene Dordunoo was teaching Chinese to a class of students in another classroom. She had them build their vocabulary by reading the transliterated words on the board.

The pupils were excited to end their lesson in Chinese with rhymes. These youngsters, despite their inexperience, understand the importance of learning other languages and cultures. This was the main motivation for them to learn Chinese.

Alvin Quartey began learning Chinese in first grade. It will be useful in the future, because if I travel to another country and I meet people who speak Chinese it will be easier for me to communicate with them.

He thanked the schools for including Chinese in the curriculum, and for letting them practice their Chinese dancing and other cultural activities.

Briana Arthur said that she enjoyed learning Chinese, particularly because of the teachers’ interactive classes and their use of gestures and activities. She said that combining Chinese with the music and dances of the Chinese culture heightened her interest in the language.

It is an incredible experience and the teachers do a great job teaching us Chinese. I am very busy learning Chinese, with music and dancing. My parents tell me that I am good at dancing and have fun doing it, so they encourage me to work hard so I can continue getting awards.”

Adelyn Mensah said that Chinese was not difficult and she wanted to continue learning the language.

The management of Happy Heart Montessori School chose Chinese as the preferred language to be taught in the school, in addition to French or English. This was due to China’s growing influence in the world.

Doreenda Kotei is the administrator of the school. She said that knowing another language will help you communicate and function better wherever you are.

The idea is to teach the basic Chinese language and culture to children before they reach the higher and tertiary levels. So far, they have done very well. “They show such passion when they speak and perform activities in Chinese,” Nikoi Kôtei added.

She thanked the Confucius institute at the University of Ghana, which provides the school with teachers each year. She noted that Chinese is now a major factor in school enrollment because parents want to ensure their children benefit from Chinese education.

“We hope that our students will be able to visit China someday, as this will expose them. The administrator stated that visiting China would be an honor and boost the ability of the selected candidates to speak Chinese better than now.

She encouraged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to incorporate Chinese into the curriculum to allow children to learn the language at an early age. She also urged that school managers from Ghana be invited to China for exchange programs to share ideas and methods with their Chinese counterparts.

Irene Dordunoo is a graduate of University of Ghana and currently teaches Chinese to the students at Happy Heart Montessori School. She has been impressed with the level of comprehension of the language by the pupils. “I’ve only been here a short time, but it is clear that the children are progressing well. “Their interest in the Chinese language is increasing,” Dordunoo stated, adding that the school’s participation at programs run by the Confucius Institute was another factor in their learning.

According to her, in general, interest in learning Chinese is steadily increasing among young Ghanaians, as they begin to realize the advantages it will bring in the future and present.

“It is evident that many Chinese are establishing businesses in Ghana. This benefits the entire country.” She added that they do not just hire Chinese workers, but also many Ghanaians.

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