The Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana has launched a programme that will allow officers in the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to receive training in the Chinese language.
The programme is aimed at breaking the language barrier between Chinese nationals and Immigration Officers who arrive at the Kotoka International Airport on a daily basis.
Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr Meilian Mei, who spoke at the launch, said the main objective of this initiative is to help create a friendly atmosphere between Chinese visiting Ghana and immigration officers, as well as facilitate communication between them as they go through immigration formalities on their arrival at the airport.
She added that, “the programme will be organised for Seventy Immigration officers and there will be a two to three hour lesson each week for eight weeks.”
At the end of the programme, the trained officers will be given a certificate and the best will be awarded prizes, while some others will be selected for further training to enable them to acquire higher proficiency in Chinese.
For his part, the Representative of the Comptroller – General of Immigration, Chief Superintendent Asare Bediako, [Head of training] described the initiative as gratifying.
“It is pertinent to note that the Chinese nationals constitute a greater number of passengers who access the airport and having Chinese Embassy in Accra to train officers in the Chinese language is more gratifying.”
The political counselor of the Chinese Embassy and Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy, Zhu Jing, said 6,500 Ghanaians national are currently studying in China.
He, however, deemed it fit for such a scheme to be replicated in Ghana.
“With the rapid growth of China-Ghana economic cooperation, the two countries have witnessed the flourishing of people-to-people exchanges,” he said.
The Chinese Embassy issued over 17,000 visas for Ghanaians last year, and more than 6,500 Ghanaian young people study in China at present.
The number of Ghanaian professionals receiving training in China has increased from over 300 in 2014 to more than 900 last year.
Many immigration officers of China Immigration Administration have been trained to speak fluent English, offering effective assistance to visitors from Ghana and other countries.
Confucius Institute was first established in May 2013 in Ghana, and commenced its operation in April 2014.
The institute has been offering Chinese language proficiency and Chinese cultural courses at nine teaching sites with an enrollment of more than 4000 Ghanaian students at the University of Ghana.
The institute also organizes a team to visit China to promote understanding and cooperation between China and Ghana.
So far, nearly 40 educational leaders and 40 students have been to China.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
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