Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Ma Hui (front) delivers a speech at Fructuoso Rodriguez secondary school in Havana, Cuba, March 7, 2022. (Photo by Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua)
HAVANA, March 7 (Xinhua)-- Samuel Zayas, a 12-year-old secondary student from the Havana district of Plaza de la Revolucion, was happy to start learning Chinese as an optional subject.
He is among nearly 130 seventh graders from Fructuoso Rodriguez secondary school who will benefit from Chinese classes during the new academic year.
"I am opening the doors to my future," he told Xinhua. "China is a very important economic power in the international arena. Learning Chinese will be difficult in the very beginning, but I feel I have made a wise decision."
Marcelo Rodriguez, 12, said that the course will help him better interact with the world of technology and get insights into the impressive achievements of China over the past decades.
"If I travel to China, I will be able to communicate with native speakers," he said. "No one knows what the future holds for me."
For the first time in this Caribbean nation, Cuban Ministry of Education on Monday introduced a Chinese language course into secondary education.
Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Ma Hui said the two countries have taken a significant step to develop their relations through culture and education.
"Learning a foreign language is very important," he said at the opening ceremony of the course. "I am fully convinced that knowing about Chinese culture and language will bring many opportunities for students in the future."
The Chinese Embassy in Cuba has provided the school with textbooks, dictionaries, handbooks, and traditional toys to be used as teaching aids during the Chinese language lessons.
School principal Carlos Camejo voiced confidence in the success of the course, saying more educational centers across the country would join the initiative in the coming years.
"China and Cuba have a solid brotherhood," he told Xinhua. "I do not doubt that Chinese language classes will be very positive for the intellectual development of our students."
Over the past few years, the interest in studying Chinese has grown in Cuba as Cuba-China relations continued to strengthen.
Chinese language teacher Hou Jiaqi, 26, told Xinhua that she felt honored to be working in Cuba as part of a new professional experience.
"I hope that my pupils can eventually become proficient speakers of Chinese and this course could continue to pave the way toward enhancing the bonds between China and Cuba," she said. ■
Chinese language teacher Hou Jiaqi (1st, L) teaches Chinese language course at Fructuoso Rodriguez secondary school in Havana, Cuba, March 7, 2022. (Photo by Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua)