An eight-person delegation of regional education directors and school principals that visited the People’s Republic of China has spoken highly of Chinese culture and its warm hospitality.
The team of Namibian education officials recently toured Beijing to familiarise themselves with Chinese culture and primarily its impressive secondary education system.
The team delegated by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture included Austin Samupwa (education director in the Zambezi), Angeline Steenkamp (education deputy director in Khomas), Awebahe ||Hoeseb (education director of ||Karas), F. Siteketa (inspector of head office of Khomas), N. Eiman (chief education officer of Otjozondjupa), J. Lizazi (principal in Oshikoto), R. Mogane (principal in Khomas) and Jakavaza Kavari (principal in Khomas).
The trip to China lasted from October 22 to 31 and while there the delegation had an opportunity to visit the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. They were also taken on a tour of Qufu in Handung Province.
China University of Geosciences in Beijing (CUGB), as the host university of the Confucius Institute at the University of Namibia, accommodated the Namibian officials while in China.
Professor Wang Hongbing, the chairperson of CUGB university council, said China attaches great importance to the Namibian visit. Professor Wang in his speech presented the history of China and Namibia relations in terms of economic and cultural ties.
He said the friendship between CUGB and Unam originated from the time of Dr Sam Nujoma, the founding president of Namibia, and ensured that their visit would strengthen and carry on the friendship between two nations. Samupwa also told their hosts he was impressed with how the Chinese people upheld their culture and rich heritage.
Samupwa expressed gratitude for the hospitality of CUGB. He indicated that the two days of exploration left him with a deep impression of the strength of the Chinese economy, of its peaceful and orderly society and the friendly and respectful people.
The China he saw was different from what they were exposed to (what he termed as propaganda being spread by sections of the Namibian media). He said he would tell his people positive messages about China when back in Namibia. He also hoped they might build partnerships with some local schools and Chinese enterprises, so as to promote the development of the economy.
||Hoeseb in turn reiterated that contrary to the negative propaganda of the racist colonisers’ curriculum which portrayed communism as dysfunctional, as well as an oppressive ideology, this visit was an educational, eye-opener for him.
“China is an industrialised and developed nation with a knowledge-based economy, and modernised transport infrastructure, wherein citizens live in peace,” ||Hoeseb stated. Eiman said: “My time in China was wonderful, contrary to my initial beliefs about the Chinese. It is a well-developed first-world country.”
Kavari, the principal of Ella du Plessis Secondary School, remarked: “I’m more positive about China as a country and value its people more after having visited China. I cannot wait to start with Chinese language classes at Ella du Plessis.”
Mogane, a secondary school principal in Khomas Region, said: “The Chinese people have a high work ethic, which is based on their culture. Through their culture they build their education and ethics, norms and values. That is what we should learn from them in order to improve our standard of living.”
Before the group departed for Beijing, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Namibia, Xin Shunkang, had emphasised the significance of their trip to China, saying their visit would strengthen the relationship between the two nations. Xin hoped the visit would promote Chinese culture and Chinese Mandarin teaching in Namibia.