The Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, (UNIZIK) Awka, Prof Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, has disclosed an ongoing arrangement that would allow people from the university to teach Igbo language and culture in Xiamen University, China.
He said the teaching of the local language would encourage knowledge sharing between the two institutions, with the teaching of Chinese language already in place in some tertiary institutions in the country.
Ahaneku disclosed this during the send-forth ceremony of 54 students of Confucius Institute of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who bagged scholarships to study in different Chinese universities.
He urged the students to make best use of the opportunity, noting that the Chinese government would sponsor three of the awardees, while the Confucius Institute would train the rest.
He expressed satisfaction with the growth of the Confucius Institute in UNIZIK, where over 100 students have gained scholarship to study in China for various degrees.
It was learnt that 3000 students had already accessed Chinese Language Proficiency tests (HSK), while 400 students gained admission into top Chinese universities through scholarship platform of HANBAN.
The Vice Chancellor further said the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding had progressed smoothly as Chinese Language and Culture were taught at both Diploma and Degree levels in the university.
Addressing the students, the VC expressed joy that the efforts of the Institute have yielded positive results. He recalled his tenure as the Director of the Confucius Institute of the university for four years before rising to his current position of Vice Chancellor.
According to him, before now, the Confucius Institute existed only in Nnamdi Azikiwe University and University of Lagos but now, a new one is being developed at the Bayero University Kano.
It was learnt that the Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria was commissioned recently at UNIZIK by the Cultural Attachee of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, Mr. Yan Xiang Dong.
The Vice Chancellor commended the centre and pleaded with the Chinese government to offer employment to graduates of the centre, who also have other skills acquired from their degree programmes.
According to him, without proper engagement, the graduates would feel disillusioned. He also challenged China to use the products of the centre as a base to solve the challenges of communication by offering them job in different Chinese companies.
“I look forward to this centre being used as a base for prospective knowledge and knowledge transfer; a base for prospective commercial and technological advancement and a base for true diplomatic Counselor relationship and as an extension of Chinese Embassy in Nigeria.”
The Director of the Chinese Cultural and Research Centre, Prof. Wang Bo, said the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China has opened doors for commerce and economic exchange between the two countries.
Bo added: “Henceforth, our windows are wide open to accommodate all academia and researchers who may have China and Nigeria as their case study to come in and explore the opportunities here for their research work.”
The Chinese Attache and Director of China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, Mr. Yan Xiangdong, promised to support UNIZIK for the growth of the cultural centre domiciled in the institution.
Also speaking, the Director of Confucius Institute, Prof. Carol Arinze-Umeobi, said the Institute has established three Confucius classrooms at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, UNIZIK Primary and High school and at Enugu State College of Education, Technical.
Prof. Arinze-Umeobi said the Institute now runs two categories of the programme, which included executive class for business men and women to meet their business demands in China.