Approximately sixty (60) public officers have recently graduated after completing the first of three modules of a basic Mandarin certification programme. The course was conducted online over a twelve-week period and was facilitated by Ms. Ting Ting Lu from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), in collaboration with the Department of the Public Service.
Module one is aimed at assisting learners with no prior Mandarin background in acquiring basic Mandarin language skills for verbal communication. At the end of module one, participants are expected to command the pinyin system (symbols for the phonetic notation of all Chinese characters); construct simple sentences with correct grammar, and conduct elementary communicative exchanges. To complete a module, participants need to attain an 80% pass mark. During the brief graduation ceremony, participants showcased their newly acquired Mandarin language skills by participating in oral dialogue in Mandarin.
Permanent Secretary in the Department of the Public Service, Ms. Peggy-Ann Soudatt commended the public officers for embracing the opportunity for personal development. She cited some benefits of learning a new language: “First and foremost, the connections it allows us to form; it opens a world literally and figuratively. It is a very good initiative on your part to decide to undertake the Mandarin course. I would like to encourage you to carry out the same level of diligence that you displayed with module one, into the remaining modules.”
Similar commendations were also expressed by the Ambassador of Taiwan in Saint Lucia, H.E. Peter C.Y. Chen. “I would really like to recognize all the participants who overcame the challenges of learning a new language while working full-time. I am really proud of you.” Ambassador Chen informed the enthusiastic Mandarin novices that the annual training and cultural exchange programme held in Taiwan for public officers has had to be suspended due to the COVID- 19 Pandemic.
The basic Mandarin programme continues later this month with the sixty participants of module one moving onto module two, while another cohort of 40 public officers will be commencing module one. All participants will get the opportunity to proceed to the advanced level once they have completed all three modules at the basic level.
Ms Soudatt expressed gratitude to the Embassy of Taiwan for collaborating with the Department of the Public Service in facilitating the free online Mandarin programme.