The Red Dragon is set to hold sway on Kalina campus from today. Mumbai University has decided to inaugurate a new Chinese centre for the promotion of culture and language on July 18. Called the Confucius Institute after the influential ancient Chinese philosopher, the founding of the centre follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Tianjin University of Technology in the People’s Republic of China.
With the annual Indo-China trade touching Rs 4 lakh crore, the two countries are seeking to overcome the communication barrier and understand the other’s culture. The institute will provide a Chinese language course, and several other courses that have not yet been finalised. According to a university official, there will be a students and teachers exchange programme between the two universities.
“Once the institute is set up, there will be two officials heading it: one from Mumbai University and the other from the Chinese university. The Chinese representative will stay here and we will look after his accommodation. Once our teachers learn Chinese they will go to that country and teach Hindi and English languages to Chinese students and teachers,” a Mumbai varsity functionary said.
Dinesh Panjwani, principal of RD National College, Bandra, said, “The MoU between Mumbai University and Tianjin University will help our students understand the literary side of Chinese culture. There will also be language courses.”
Many Mumbaikars are eager to climb up the Chinese learning curve, for reasons relating to better interface with the Chinese, given the booming trade with the country. Vaijanti Kewlani, business development officer, said, “Once my boss went to China and had to hire an interpreter since Chinese people
don’t understand English. Sometimes, we carry pictures with us to indicate what we want from them. The university’s decision to give Chinese language courses with the help of Tianjin University will help many people in their business.”
Others are just keen to soak in the Chinese culture. Sheetal Joshi, resident of Badlapur, said, “There are very few people who teach Chinese in the city, even though it has as much importance in the language localisation market as any other foreign language.
There are two types of Chinese: simplified and traditional. China has two dialects Mandarin and Cantonese. If the Mumbai University starts giving the language courses, I will be the first to take admission. This move will help a lot many people here who deal in business with China.”