Chinese language continues to attract Namibian students amid COVID-19 pandemic
A Chinese language teacher of the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia gives an online lecture in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, on May 31, 2021. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, passion for learning the Chinese language among Namibian students continue to gain momentum through online teaching, said Zhang Fan, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia. (Photo by Zhang Fan/Xinhua)
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, passion for learning the Chinese language among Namibian students continue to gain momentum through online teaching, said Zhang Fan, director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia (UNAM).
Zhang said that the institute has shifted the face-to-face courses to online teaching and learning modes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is mainly at the UNAM main campus for UNAM students who registered in our Chinese credit-bearing courses," he said, adding there is also one teaching site at private school in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
The institute has registered about 52 students in the first semester of 2021.
The digitalized learning instruction method has further sparked interest in local students who are maximizing on it to master the Chinese language.
After moving from Germany to Namibia in 2018, Laura Lilian Quiram decided to enroll for Basic Mandarin Course Level 1 in January 2020 due to a keen interest in Mandarin Chinese.
Just when adapting to learning the Chinese language face-to-face in the classroom, Quiram, who is 15 years old, had to abruptly embrace learning the new language through an online medium early into the course.
"Learning the Chinese language online can be difficult since you cannot see the teacher in reality. It would be best if you were more independent and stubborn than you would be in class," according to Quiram.
This year, the online courses are delivered by three Chinese lecturers, who have been instrumental in ensuring that the students master a vital component of the Chinese language.
Although writing Chinese language characters and keeping up with the vocabulary can be challenging, it accorded Quiram some knowledge of the Chinese culture and language.
"I am happy for the knowledge and the ability to talk to people who speak Mandarin, and how to have a small conversation," said Quiram.
In the interim, plans are underway to increase the capacity at the Confucius Institute, according to Zhang.
"We also plan to have more teachers in the rest of this year 2021 or 2022 to meet the Chinese language requirement," Zhang added.
The institute has enrolled about 5,900 students since its establishment in 2013.