Egypt and China signed a cooperation protocol yesterday to teach the Chinese language as a second optional foreign language in pre-university schools in the North African country. The agreement was signed in Cairo by Egyptian Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawki and the Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang.
“Egypt is keen to benefit from the unique Chinese experience in economic development as well as other fields,” Shawki said during the signing ceremony. He added that ties with China are deeply rooted as Egypt was the first Arab and African country to establish diplomatic relations with the then communist country in 1956.
“Today’s agreement represents an illuminating image of the distinguished and fruitful relations between the two friendly countries, which we always strive to strengthen and support by all means to achieve the desired goals,” the minister explained.
Xinhua reported that for its part China will support the ministry in several areas including establishing solar power plants in schools, workshops for technical education and updating educational technology in secondary schools across Egypt.
There are two Confucius Institutes in Egypt, one in Cairo University, the other in Suez Canal University, along with three which are independent. A total of 16 universities in Egypt have either established Chinese language departments or teach the Chinese language within their curriculum.
“China will further open up education to the outside world to facilitate people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and pave the way for building a China-Egypt community with a shared future,” said Ambassador Liqiang. “We are willing to work with Egypt to implement the agreement step by step and strengthen cooperation in improving the proficiency of teachers, enriching Chinese teaching materials, optimising teaching methods and compiling syllabuses.”
The protocol was signed amid growing economic ties between Egypt and China. According to Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Nevine Gamea, trade between the two countries reached $5.2 billion during the first seven months of this year.
Senior sources also revealed on Friday that an Egyptian-Chinese consortium has won a bid to build Egypt’s first high-speed electric railway at a cost of $9 billion which will reportedly connect the Red Sea with the Mediterranean in three-hours.