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25 January, 2007

Western Cape, Shandong education departments sign agreement

Top education officials from the Western Cape and the Shandong Province in the People’s Republic of China signed an agreement to cooperate on a range of education projects today (Thursday, 25 January 2007).

Mr Ron Swartz, Head of Education in the Western Cape, and Mr Zhang Xingmin, Deputy Director-General of the Shandong Provincial Education Department, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective departments.

The signing ceremony took place at Rustenburg Girls’ High School in Rondebosch.

Mr Zhang led a delegation of five senior officials from Shandong who toured Garlandale Secondary School in Athlone and Rustenburg Girls prior to the signing ceremony.

The agreement forms part of a broader agreement signed Premier Ebrahim Rasool on behalf of the Western Cape and Mr Han Yunqun, Governor of Shandong Province, in July 2006. The agreement covers economic cooperation, trade, investment, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, education, energy and medical care.

Mr Swartz said the Memorandum on Enhancing Education Cooperation signed yesterday is the first technical agreement flowing from the agreement signed last year.

"The agreement will provide important opportunities for young people to learn more about our respective cultures. We also hope to provide learning opportunities for teachers."

Key features of the agreement on education include the following:

  • During 2007, the two provinces will exchange between three to five interns or young professional people to learn a language of the host country, namely Chinese in China and English in the Western Cape. The training will take place in universities in the two provinces.

  • The Shandong Education Department will help to establish a Chinese Language and Culture Centre at Stellenbosch University. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will work with higher education institutions in the Western Cape to establish a South African Culture Research Centre at a university in Shandong, and will donate books and textbooks to the centre.

  • The departments will encourage contact between youth of the two provinces, given than youth represent their common future. Forms of contact could include the internet and summer and winter camps, when conditions permit.

  • Both departments will encourage book-importing agencies in their respective provinces to import textbooks produced by the other country.

  • Both departments agreed to exhibit their work in education in the main cities of the two provinces, and to promote their respective cultures and traditions.

  • The two education departments agreed to establish further ways in which to foster cooperation in primary, secondary and higher education, as well as adult education and distance learning.

The Shandong delegation comprised Mr Zhang Xingmin; Mr Zhang Shijun, Director, Shandong Provincial Education House; Mr Gao Lei, Deputy Director, Personnel Division; Mr Wu Jianhua, Deputy Director, Administration; and Mr Sun Zuxing, Deputy Director, Foreign Affairs, also of the Shandong Provincial Education Department. Representatives of the Chinese Consulate General at the ceremony were Mr Shi Weiqiang, Consul General, and Mr Cheng Jun, Consul Attaché.


From the left, seated, Mr Zhang Xingmin, Deputy Director-General of the Shandong Provincial Education Department, and Mr Ron Swartz, Head of Education in the Western Cape, sign the education cooperation agreement.

Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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