A ten-member high-powered government delegation led by Professor Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, is in the People’s Republic of China to discuss issues on development and quality education.
The delegation, made up of representatives of educational and stakeholder institutions in Ghana are currently holding official meetings with the Leadership of the Confucius Institute of China.
They also visited the headquarters of the Confucius Institute in Beijing, where they had a meeting with the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institute, Mr Yu Yunfeng.
Mr Robert Abeiku Ansah, special Aid to Prof Kwesi Yankah, told the Ghana News Agency via a telephone interview that the visit was to offer both parties an opportunity to renew their commitments towards existing agreements and also explore possible avenues for academic partnership, future collaborations and scholarly exchanges.
The Confucius Institute promotes and teaches Chinese culture and language around the World and also helps to develop Chinese language courses, train teachers, host cultural and artistic presentations and provide information about modern-day China’s development.
It has a branch at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), through a partnership arrangement between the Hunan City University and UCC, which had trained as many as 40 Ghanaian students in Chinese Culture and language and are currently teaching the language across Ghana.
The institute currently has a student population of nearly 10,000 in local curricula structures across Ghana with the establishment of an independent library and language laboratory.
It is in line with this that the two Universities are sharing resources to open up educational opportunities in China for Ghanaian students who may want to study in China or pursue business ventures in the Asian State.
The Special Aid said the delegation would also engage government officials and University Authorities in China on major issues of great importance, including capacity building exchange, signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and others to strengthen diplomatic ties.
He said Mr Yu Yunfeng expressed his appreciation to the Government of Ghana for the support given to the Confucius Institute to establish learning centres at the UCC, University of Ghana and other learning Centres across Senior High Schools in Ghana.
He said the establishment of the Confucius Institute forms part of efforts to deepen the diplomatic relationship between Ghana and China and was optimistic that it will serve as a link to bridge the language gap between the two countries to promote trade, technology transfer, and cultural exchanges among others.
“In Ghana, University Practice Senior High School (SHS) and Mfantsipim School are few of the schools that have Confucius Classrooms, “Mr Yu Yunfeng said, adding that, they served as additional material for teachers.
Mr Ansah said Professor Kwesi Yankah extended the appreciation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo’s to China for the collaboration between the two countries and enormous support received in Ghana’s industrialization agenda from China.
“It is getting clearer and clearer that as the volume of trade between Ghana and China increases from year to year the need arises for us to expand further, our immersion in each other’s language and culture, “ Prof Yankah said.
He stated that this would be meaningful for strengthening equity in the exchanges if Ghanaian Universities and language centres and institutes had similar schemes to teach Ghanaian languages and promote culture and business in Ghana.
Prof Yankah noted that even though Chinese sounds like a difficult language to Africans, linguistics are convinced that proficiency in the language subsequently became easier with time and that Chinese grammar and syntax were no more difficult to learn.
The Ghanaian delegation to China includes the Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board Dr Kingsley Nyarko, Prof Frank John Eshun, Vice Chancellor of Takoradi Technical University and the Director of Confucius Institute, UCC, Prof Hu Liangcai.