China to introduce Mandarin into South Africa public schools

China is helping to fund a South African programme to introduce Mandarin into the national public school curriculum as an optional language in 2016.

A leading expert in Sino-Africa relations said the move will be a game changer in the country’s dealings with China, but the plan has also run into criticism, with the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union describing the programme as tantamount to a new form of colonisation.

The Department of Basic Education confirmed that China will train hundreds of South African teachers and build three Confucius Institutes in a bid to promote Chinese culture.

The programme forms part of a 10-year development plan signed by South African President Jacob Zuma in late 2014.

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