The Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia (UL) has commenced Chinese language classes for about 43 officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and Liberia National Police (LNP).
The officers are to attend classes every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.
The opening ceremony was held in a classroom at the Foreign Service Institute in Monrovia on August 21.
Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, emphasized that the two groups of officers in the Liberian justice system constitute the gateway to entering and dwelling in the country, and as such, learning the Chinese language will benefit them.
He said lots of Liberians are traveling almost every year to China, while Chinese are also coming to Liberia, noting, “Understanding the Chinese language in the midst of the flow of both Chinese and Liberians in our two countries will surely consolidate our bilateral ties and smooth interactions between the two groups.”
The Ambassador indicated that BIN and police officers are the first groups of security that foreigners meet, and learning the Chinese language and culture will help to establish easy understanding between them.
He said many Chinese understand the English language at the middle school level, and the Government of China is determined to extend it to a global level whereby citizens of China will develop a high level of fluency in English.
He then said that others are expected to go to China to live and work as it is done in other parts of the world. In this regard, the Ambassador said there is a need to open the Chinese language for the officers so as to make communication easy for them.
Briefly lecturing participants in the Chinese language, Ambassador Yue said unlike the English language that is learnt through phonetic and compiled characters, Chinese language uses symbols or images.
He also stressed that Chinese language does not consider tenses or plural as English does, thereby making it easier to speak than English.
He urged participants to take courage and exhibit seriousness to learn the language so that communicating in Chinese can be easy for them in case they have the opportunity to travel to China or interact with Chinese.
Earlier in separate but concurring tones, representatives of heads of the two government security departments – Atty. J. Titus Kimba of the Liberia National Police and Col. George C.M. Suomie of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization – recalled the tremendous contributions of China to Liberia’s development. They emphasized that the Chinese language lesson will help to break language barriers.
The Confucius Institute at the UL was established a few years ago to teach the Chinese language in order to break language barrier between Liberian and Chinese students as many Liberian students travel to China for studies in different disciplines.
As a requirement, students leaving Liberia to China are in some instances compelled by the curriculum of that country to learn the Chinese language for some months before beginning instruction in their intended disciplines.
The Confucius Institute has attracted more than 300 students since its establishment and inclusion in the UL curriculum.