Photo taken on March 25, 2019 shows the school gate of Kim Hyong Jik University of Education in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (Xinhua/Cheng Dayu)
PYONGYANG, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The first Chinese language test center that opened in early May at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) enables Chinese language learners in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to take the HSK Chinese proficiency examination in their own country.
It also reflects the booming cultural and educational cooperation between the two neighboring countries, as language and cultural exchanges are the most direct way of bringing both peoples together.
This year marks the fifth year since Liu Yu, head of the Mandarin group at the PUST, came to the DPRK. It is compulsory for a total of some 600 undergraduates and graduates at the PUST to learn Mandarin as a second foreign language, said Liu, adding that she has been so touched by the students' enthusiasm for studying Mandarin that she has continued working at the university for such a long time.
Education departments of China and the DPRK have signed multiple cooperative agreements to send students, teachers and delegations to each other's countries.
Each year, China sends about 60 government-funded students to Kim Il Sung University and Kim Hyong Jik University of Education to study the Korean language for about seven months.
Meanwhile, the number of DPRK students studying in China and supported by Chinese government scholarships has maintained no more than 400 over the past years. Besides, the DPRK also sends about 200 university teachers to China for further education for a period of between half a year and one year.
To support Chinese language teaching in the DPRK, the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) has been sending Mandarin teachers to Pyongyang. Huang Li, who is from China's northeastern Liaoning Province and teaching at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, is one of them.
Since 2007, Huang has come to the DPRK three times and has taught Mandarin for six years, cultivating over 1,000 students who now have a solid foundation in the Chinese language and are working in foreign affairs, media, culture, education and other fields, making significant contributions to the development of the economy and society of the DPRK as well as the China-DPRK friendship.
Zou Jiayue, 23, from Shenyang city of China's Liaoning Province, is in her fourth year of studying the Korean language at Kim Hyong Jik University of Education.
The ability to communicate smoothly with local people and live independently is the biggest harvest she has reaped while studying in the DPRK, Zou said, adding that she is impressed by the enthusiasm of people in the DPRK for learning Mandarin and their increasing open-mindedness.
More vigorous academic exchanges between universities in both countries are another highlight in China-DPRK ties.
Academic exchanges between Kim Il Sung University and Chinese universities date back to the 1950s, said Ham Pyong Kil, deputy director of the foreign exchange and cooperation department of Kim Il Sung University, adding that his university has established regular academic exchanges with over 30 Chinese universities, such as Peking University.
"China has developed rapidly and conducted fruitful scientific research and made academic achievements over the past years. There is much to learn from China," Ham said.
"We are looking forward to more academic exchanges with China and learning the latest knowledge in the academic and teaching fields, so as to broaden our horizons and ensure the leading position of our university's academic, research and teaching abilities," he said.