A Chinese language teaching center has been opened at Villa College.
The center was officially opened by Chinese Ambassador to Maldives H.E. Wang Lixin and Maldives Foreign Secretary Ahmed Lateef at a ceremony held at the college.
The "Chinese Language Center (CLC)" of Villa College will be operated in collaboration with Chang'an University and Hunan Mass Media Vocational and Technical College.
The center offers four training programs including "Tourism Chinese" course, which teaches how to easily communicate with Chinese tourists, and the "Business Chinese" course, of two levels, which teaches how to use Chinese in business transactions.
The center will also offer "Easy Approach to Chinese", which teaches people to use Chinese in daily interactions, and four levels of "Easy Chinese", aimed at children in grades one through seven.
The agreement was reached with the International Education Foundation of China in 2019 to open the CLC at Villa College. However, the opening of the center was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the inauguration ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Wang Lixin said the center will further strengthen the ties between China and Maldives.
"Learning Chinese well will create employment opportunities for the youth of Maldives. We hope that the students trained at CLC will be part of the future exchanges between China and Maldives," the ambassador said.
Foreign Secretary Ahmed Latheef said Chinese tourist delegates have highlighted that the country faces serious challenges in promoting Maldivian tourism in the Chinese market due to the lack of Chinese speakers in Maldives.
“I hope the opening of the CLC will be a golden opportunity to overcome such challenges,” Latheef said.
Prior to the pandemic, the Maldives saw the largest tourist arrivals from China. The Chinese ambassador recently said that direct flights to Maldives will resume in October, which had been suspended following the closure of China's border.
With the CLC, Villa College hopes to provide employees of resorts and airport employees working in duty free with the opportunity to learn Chinese and make it easier for them to communicate with Chinese tourists.
China is also operating Chinese Language Centers in other countries.