DAMMAM: A school in Dammam this week became one of eight in Saudi Arabia to introduce Chinese to its students, implementing the crown prince’s directives to teach the language as an optional subject at all educational levels.
Of the eight schools, four are in Riyadh, two in Jeddah and two in the Eastern Province. Muhammad bin Mubarak Al-Zahrani, director of Dammam’s education office, stressed during his visit to King Abdullah Secondary School the importance of including Chinese in public education due to its prestigious position among the languages of the world.
He noted the crown prince’s efforts to strengthen bilateral relations, and said offering Chinese at schools will open new horizons for students in various fields.
Mishaal and Khaled Al-Otaibi, Chinese-language teachers at the school, said students have responded positively to the new course.
Education Ministry spokesperson Ibtisam Al-Shehri said: “This step represents the first stage of the ministry’s plan to teach the Chinese language on a larger scale that includes female students.”
Chinese was introduced in Saudi schools during the crown prince’s visit to Beijing in February 2019, as part of an agreement between the two countries to strengthen ties and cooperation. Chen Weiqing, China’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Arabic is taught at more than 50 universities in his country.