A Confucius Class opened at School No. 44 in Vitebsk on 26 October, BelTA has learned.
The class was set up with support of the Chinese Embassy in Belarus and the Beijing-based School of Chinese Language and Literature. The latter was approached directly by the administration of the Vitebsk school. Attending the Confucius Class solemn opening ceremony were representatives of the Chinese Embassy, the School of Chinese Language and Literature, local authorities and Beijing School No. 80 with which the Vitebsk school maintains direct contacts.
Li Wenhua, First Secretary on Education of the Chinese Embassy in Belarus, called the opening of the Confucius Class a remarkable event. "In recent years cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Belarus has advanced to a very high level. Belarusian people are showing a great interest in studying the Chinese language and culture. To this end, four Confucius Institutes have been opened so far (three in Minsk and one in Gomel), as well as the Confucius Class at the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture. The Confucius Class at School No. 44 in Vitebsk was the first to be established at a Belarusian school. I am convinced that you can achieve great results," she emphasized.
According to Headmaster Sergei Pitolenko, the talks on opening such a class started in September 2016. "It took a long time to harmonize things at the level of the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Hanban. A preliminary approval was granted in March this year, so we embarked on paperwork. The final decision on opening the Confucius Class at our school was made on 29 August. A week ago, financing equivalent to $30,000 was provided to equip the class with the necessary facilities and learning aids. We will try to do it as soon as possible. Not only our students, but everyone interested, will be able to attend the classes," he noted.
School No. 44 in Vitebsk was one of the first in Belarus to offer Chinese classes to students. A language laboratory was opened in 2016 for that purpose. At present, about 200 children of grades from 1 to 9 study the language and culture of China. Classes are available as an elective course and as a core foreign language. In recent years, students of the school have regularly ranked among the best at nationwide Chinese language competitions.