Public schools in Costa Rica begin teaching Chinese

Chinese language courses have reached the classrooms of high schools in Costa Rica, under the “Let’s Talk Mandarin” program that was presented today by the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica, with the support of the Chinese Embassy, which offered to bring in six Chinese teachers.

[Soundbite] Sonia Marta Mora, Minister of Public Education
Today is a historic day as, for the first time, we are incorporating Chinese language classes in our public schools.

The project will begin teaching Chinese with six pilot schools. In each school, 60 students will receive classes in Chinese five times a week for two years.

[Soundbite] Song Yanbin, Chinese Ambassador in Costa Rica
The study of Chinese is a great opportunity for 360 students in 6 schools, driven by the Ministry of Education.

This program to teach Chinese in Costa Rican public secondary schools will see as its starting point the High School Opportunity Network, a network of 11 institutions located in vulnerable areas. After an evaluation, it is possible that the teaching of Chinese will be extended to all 11 institutions of the High School Opportunity Network.

[Soundbite] Sonia Marta Mora, Minister of Public Education
Why is it important to teach Chinese? First, our relations with China have been strengthening in recent months and years. This means we have to look at language, education and culture so that this relationship becomes even more sustainable. Second, we know that learning Chinese will give our students a broader knowledge of Asia, a strategic region of the world. Finally, the number of Chinese speakers in the world makes it very valuable to have exchanges between Spanish and Chinese. We are building a bridge of understanding and respect between the two peoples.

The minister added that knowledge of the Chinese language would allow Costa Rican students to have better global understanding, in order to more job opportunities through trade, cultural and political relations that have been strengthened between China and Costa Rica.

The launch of this project was conducted in the Professional Technical College Uladislao Gamez, located in Tirrases of Curridabat, a poor community east of the capital San Jose.

The opening ceremony also included a brief lesson taught by a Chinese professor who showed hthe students how to quickly learn basic Chinese words and phrases.

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