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Chinese subjects to be taught in South African schools from 2016
2015-08-13 22:02

CAPE TOWN, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- South African basic learners will have an option to study Chinese language from January 2016, Department of Basic Education (DBE) officials confirmed on Thursday.

The roll-out of Chinese subjects will be incrementally implemented in schools with Grades 4-9 and 10 in January 2016, followed by Grade 11 in 2017 and Grade 12 in 2018, said SG Padayachee, DBE acting director-general.

Last month, Padayachee signed a circular for incremental implementation of Chinese as a non-official language from 2016-2018.

Introducing Chinese as a second additional language for Grades 4-9 will be regarded as an additional subject not to be taken into account for promotion requirements, according to the circular.

Other language choices in the same category include German, Serbian, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu.

Under the circular issued to national and provincial education authorities, the Chinese language will be added to the school curriculum in January 2016.

The programme is part of a 10-year plan signed in December last year by South African President Jacob Zuma, and will be taught as an optional extra.

The decision was taken because China is South Africa's biggest trading partner and it would help strengthen relations, DBE spokesperson Elija Mhlanga said.

The implementation of an optional language in the Intermediate Phase (Grade 4-6) and in the Senior Phase (Grades 7-9) in public schools in the various provinces is subject to the approval of the Head of Education of the relevant province, the circular says.

The DBE signed an implementation plan with China's Ministry of Education in March last year aimed at strengthening educational ties at an institutional and policy level between the two countries.

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