Picture for illustrative purposes only. A Chinese language class in progress in Islamabad. Image Credit: Sana Jamal/Gulf News

Cairo: Saudi education authorities started Sunday teaching the Chinese language in eight high schools as part of efforts to boost links between the two countries, Saudi media reported.

The eight boys schools, which teach the language from the second semester that started Sunday in the kingdom, include four in the capital Riyadh, two in the western city of Jeddah and two others in the Eastern region, spokesman for the Education Ministry Ibtasam Al Shiheri said, according to Okaz newspaper.

She added that registering for learning the Chinese is optional for students.

“This is the first stage of the ministry’s plan to teach the Chinese language on a larger scale including girls,” the official said.

Earlier this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman 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.