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Language is a vehicle for personal, social, educational, economic and political needs and should no longer be a barrier but a resource for access to knowledge by all nations.

This was said by the Minister of Education and Training, Mr. Mokhele Moletsane when delivering remarks at the 10th Chinese Bridge Proficiency competition for secondary school students and the first Chinese language competition awards giving ceremony held in Maseru on Sunday.

Mr. Moletsane said the ceremony came at the right time when the issue of Sesotho language as a mother tongue and its use as medium of instruction at the lower grades as opposed to other languages spoken in Lesotho is being addressed by developing Education Language Policy for Lesotho.

He said the Ministry of Education and Training is currently transforming the education system through the implementation of the new integrated curriculum and assessment as well as the envisaged structure that indicates three pathways that the ministry is looking forward to introduce in the country. 

He said the Ministry has since realised that children are gifted and differ in talents and the way they perceive things, the manner in which they have to respond to life changing world, adding that all these other initiatives require that children should be equipped with skills that can allow them to be creative, analytic, solve problems, communicate, study independently and collaborate and relate with others in a conducive manner.

The Minister commended the Chinese Embassy for hosting the first Chinese language for Basotho saying the ministry is also grateful for the long-term existing relations between the government of China and Lesotho.

He congratulated the winners of the competition as well as the Chinese Embassy to have taken the correct route in promoting their language and culture through amongst others the establishment of a Confucius Classroom (Chinese Language and Culture Centre) at the Machabeng College because it is multilingual institution that can accommodate every child from all over the world.

Speaking at the same event the Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Dr Sun Xianghua said this was the first time ever for the Embassy to host the Chinese language competition for Basotho since 2002 when the Chinese Proficiency competition was launched and participated by 110 countries around the world.

He said the competition has been organised for Basotho because Chinese is becoming popular in Lesotho and it has been introduced to enhance the mutual cooperation and friendship between the two countries that has grown from strength to strength.

He said the friendship is comprehensive as China has been assisting Lesotho to develop a number of sectors including infrastructure, public health, agriculture, education and culture to mention a few.

Dr Sun pointed out that to learn a foreign language is to open doors to another country hence the initiative to host the event aimed at giving Basotho chance to enhance their skills and knowledge on Chinese language.

He said Chinese is not a difficult language to learn but it needs a lot of hard work and perseverance, adding that those who have learnt it will not regret in the future.

There were 31 Basotho who participated in the chinese language competition and they included the secondary school students, and people who took their time to learn the language. 

Participants presented short speeches in Chinese and the top winners were awarded M1000 cash and certificates, those who received second prize, went home with M500 while the rest of the participants got M300 together with certificates.

Among the top winners was Mr. Batlokoa Sekhamane who shared the same sentiments with the Chinese Ambassador saying Chinese is not a difficult language at all. 

He encouraged Basotho to learn it so that it can be easy for them to communicate with their friends from China.

Source: LENA 04/09/2017

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