Chinese language proficiency unlocks new opportunities for South Sudan's citizens

Updated: April 27, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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JUBA, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of South Sudanese citizens who have mastered the Chinese language are looking ahead for limitless opportunities beyond their peers who are not proficient in Mandarin, the standard Chinese official language.

Wello Gabriel Omot Odangi, aged 21, the only female student in her Chinese language class in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, said she enrolled in October 2022 in order to ease her online civil engineering studies at China's Hubei University of Science and Technology.

"The university made it compulsory for foreign students to learn Chinese in the first semester, so I got interested in learning it and that is why I came here," Omot told Xinhua during a recent interview. "I want to complete all four levels of the Chinese Proficiency Test (also known as HSK). I would like to use Chinese language in my day-to-day life and also when I go to China, the language will help me communicate with Chinese people."

Omot is among a growing number of local beneficiaries of the Chinese language and cultural exchange program under Phase II Technical Cooperation Project of Education in South Sudan.

The successful implementation of the China-Aided Phase I Technical Cooperation Project of Education in South Sudan in 2018 marked the first comprehensive China-aided technical cooperation in the education sector for developing countries.

The Chinese language lessons have seen 180 out of the 300 learners receive certificates since July 2021 when the admissions opened to the public at Juba Day Secondary School.

Mayiik Deng Mayiik, 25, is one of the pioneer students who recently completed the Chinese language proficiency course. He said his proficiency in the Chinese language which is among the six international languages widely spoken globally has endeared him to many Chinese nationals and South Sudan government officials.

"I think learning Chinese language is very important, it has already improved my relations with Chinese nationals," he added.

Akhon Twerek Akhon, a 39-year-old lecturer of political science and history at the University of Juba, said that when more South Sudanese learn Chinese, it helps them to benefit from the existing economic cooperation between South Sudan and China. "China has many companies in South Sudan, learning the language will enable our young people to get jobs in those companies," Akhon said.

Ustaz George Kenyi, the head teacher of Juba Day Secondary School, expressed gratitude upon witnessing South Sudanese youth improve their proficiency in the Chinese language. "I am sure that the trainees who are attending here are not wasting time since they are going to be the real ambassadors from South Sudan to China," he added.

Kuyok Abol Kuyok, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, said language is very important as it helps overcome cultural barriers, thus bringing people from different cultural backgrounds together. Kuyok believed that proficiency in the Chinese language, one of the six official languages of the United Nations, will help South Sudanese youth find a niche in pursuing their academic studies and securing jobs.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia