Cairo: More than 28,000 high-school students in the Saudi holy city of Mecca have started learning the Chinese language as part of a nationwide plan.
Starting from this semester, the second-grade students in public and private secondary schools in Saudi Arabia were introduced to the Chinese language under an enriching linguistic programme.
They include 28,903 students in 257 secondary schools in Mecca, attending two proficiency classes per week for learning Chinese during the first semester of the academic year that began last week.
The programme features educational shows and interactive lessons aimed to enhance the students’ ability to learn the Chinese language with the engagement of facilitators encouraging group thinking and self-learning.
Saudi education authorities this month unveiled a package of incentives for students who will distinguish themselves in learning the Chinese language.
As part of these incentives, students’ attendance of the Chinese language classes will be considered a sort of engagement in voluntary works.
The student, who successfully completes the course, will get a 10-hour voluntary work added up to his/her cooperative education.
Moreover, the five best learners will be honoured by their respective education department, with the final number of top students to reach 16 boys and 16 girls, who will be feted by the Education Ministry. Those students will also be given access to knowledge-orientated programmes and trips as a reward.
Saudi Arabia said it plans to expand teaching the Chinese language after Chinese President Xi Jinping made an official visit last December to the kingdom where he met King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed.
Xi said in Riyadh that his country would offer thousands of opportunities to teach the Chinese language in the Gulf countries.
Last March, the first batch of students majoring in the Chinese language in Saudi Arabia graduated at the University of Jeddah’s Faculty of Languages and Translation.
In 2020, Saudi education authorities started teaching the Chinese language in eight high schools as part of efforts to boost links between the two countries.
Earlier that year, the Saudi Crown Prince visited China where it was agreed to work out a plan for introducing the Chinese language into curricula of schools and universities in the kingdom.