Doctor Kafui Kpegba, second vice-president of University of Lome (UL), receives an interview with Xinhua in Lome, Togo, Nov. 18, 2019. Togo's UL in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the university has launched the Faculty of Chinese Language Studies that will allow students to receive official bachelor degrees after successfully completing their Chinese language courses. TO GO WITH "Feature: Chinese language study grows popular at Togo university" (Xinhua/Xiao Jiuyang)
LOME, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Togo's University of Lome (UL) in collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the university has launched the Faculty of Chinese Language Studies that will allow students to receive official bachelor degrees after successfully completing their Chinese language courses.
This cooperative arrangement between the Confucius Institute and the UL begins from this semester that opened earlier this month.
The university said the launch of the faculty in collaboration with the Confucius Institute was due to the institute's proven track record which saw it having trained thousands of Chinese language students over the past decade. Most of these students have since worked as interpreters or translators in Togo and the neighboring countries where they are in high demand.
In an interview with Xinhua, UL's senior vice-president Professor Komlan Batawila said the state-owned university will issue the official degree diploma to students who complete six semesters of Chinese language studies.
Batawila also welcomed the cooperation between the UL, China's Sichuan International Studies University, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters, which enabled the opening of the Togolese branch of the Confucius Institute in the UL in 2009.
In another interview, UL's second vice-president Doctor Kafui Kpegba told Xinhua that the establishment of the Faculty of Chinese Language Studies "ushers in a new era" between the UL and the Confucius Institute which has now become "a fully-fledged entity" of the public university of Togo.
The official diploma in Chinese language comes at a time when China-Togo cooperation is deepening, especially in economic cooperation which is marked by the presence of Chinese firms which create jobs to Chinese-speaking young Togolese people, she explained.
"The issue of employability of the students we train in our University led to the idea of creating the official diploma in Chinese studies. I believe that we will be proven right," Doctor Kpegba said.
In the same direction, 22-year-old Tchakou Roland, a first-year student of the just launched Faculty of Chinese Language Studies, said he is passionate about China and has enrolled for the studies as he is in search of what will help him stand out in the job market.
"I wanted something specific and reliable that can be helpful in my future", he told Xinhua.
He said China is a land of opportunities where he also intends to pursue studies for Master's degree, either in computer science or in interpreting.
Professor Koutchoukalo Tchassim, the Togolese director of the Confucius Institute at UL, said the quality of the Chinese language education in the institute sparked a massive enrolment since 2012. About 600 students have registered for the first semester of this academic year in the Institute, up from 300 enrolments five years earlier.
"This already poses a problem of infrastructure for the Institute," Tchassim lamented, enjoying nevertheless the enthusiasm of Togolese people to learn the Chinese language.
"Our ambition is to be able to expand the Confucius Institute by creating branches in schools. In the schools that we visited, we saw pupils very interested in Chinese language," Tchassim said.
The Confucius Institute at UL has so far opened a local branch in the University of Kara, about 440 km north to the capital Lome, in a bid to offer learning courses to students interested in Chinese language and culture.