The new Confucius Institute Building located on Arboretum Drive, has officially been handed over to the University of Nairobi. The ceremony was presided over by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof. George Magoha, who praised the good relationships between Beijing and Nairobi.
Constructed at a cost of 1.4Billion shillings, the new Confucius Building hosts a number of lecture halls, conference facilities, accommodation facilities, staff offices and Chinese Language research offices and language libraries.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha observed that since 2003, over 17,000 Kenyans have been trained in the Chinese language. These include; Government workers, those in air travel and tourism, commerce and industry, university staff and students among others. He singled out the iconic Standard Gauge Railway, SGR project, as the single most project that has improved the relationship between Nairobi and Beijing. He challenged the Vice Chancellor, to fully utilize the new building by increasing the number of students interested in Chinese Language and culture. With the new CBC curriculum, children are required to learn foreign languages from Grade 4 and hence with over 30,000 primary schools in Kenya, there are numerous opportunities that lie ahead for teachers of the Chinese Language.
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, H. E. Wu Peng, observed that the Chinese Government attach great importance to education exchange between Kenya and China. In that regard, they have been over 1,000 students with Chinese Government Scholarships. This has enabled many students to pursue further studies in China. He pledged to continue supporting the Confucius Institute by building an extra modern library equipped with books, multimedia and that will help people understand better the Chinese culture. He pointed out that the building goes along way in cementing the relationship between Kenya and China.
University of Nairobi Chancellor, Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, said that the University’s resolve to make the world a better place, can not be shaken despite the many challenges and the corona virus pandemic. She took the opportunity to thank, the Nairobi County Government for the many concessions made during the construction of the building.
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama, observed that the Confucius Institute was established to promote growth and cultural exchange between the Chinese people and the Kenyan people. “The building covers 6,000 square meters and will go a long way in reducing pressure on existing teaching and learning facilities. The teaching and learning facilities will be shared with the University of Nairobi Main Campus and Chiromo Campus, “he said. He observed that the University of Nairobi provided a prime land of 3 acres, valued at 900M shillings while the Chinese Government provided the funding.
Following the COVID19 pandemic and shifting of the teaching and learning to the online mode, the Vice Chancellor, said that the state of the art multimedia facilities will go a long way in boosting the online teaching. The Vice Chancellor, requested the Chinese Government to consider the construction of the 100M bridge that will allow easy access to the building from Chiromo and Main Campus. The event was graced by Chair of Council, Prof. Julia Ojiambo, who gave a vote of thanks.