Saudi Arabia recently announced that it will add the Chinese language (Standard Mandarin)to its school and university curriculums as early as next year.
The official announcement came after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed an agreement during his visit to China last week.
According to the Saudi Press Agency,the move aims to strengthen relations between China and Saudi Arabia,enhance the cultural diversity,and open up “new academic horizons for the students.”
The decision has been hailed by the kingdom’sMinster of Education Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sheikh and several other top officials.
Just hours after the news circulated on Saudi Twitter, a heated debate ensued on the platform.
Some Saudis were excited to start learning the Asian language in schools and hailed the kingdom’s decision.
Others weren’t too excited about the move, and made sure to share their thoughts on it via the viral hashtag ‘Including Chinese Language in Curriculums.”
Not everyone had the same opinion, though some weren’t excited all.
“We didn’t succeed at learning English and it’s one of the easiest languages in the world, you want us to learn Chinese? And also, where are you going to get teachers from?”
During the crown prince’s visit to China, which came as part of his Asia tour, he visited historic sites, enjoyed local cuisine, and signed several important agreements.
The two countries plan to develop greater integration between China’s Belt and Road development strategy and Saudi Vision 2030.
It has been nearly two years since Saudi’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud met with China’s president in March 2017.
“The visit is expected to bring more fruitful results on the economic front with regards to China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and how the Saudi government can leverage the initiative for its Saudi Vision 2030,” a senior analyst at Euromonitor International said.
China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trade partner.Imports from Saudi Arabia reached $29.1 billion in 2017.