Islamabad - Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will soon set up a Chinese Language and Culture Centre in Gwadar in collaboration with Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication (BIGC).

A feasibility report to this effect is being prepared to establish the centre at the earliest, according to a press release issued on Sunday. It will be an educational response to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Shahid Siddiqui said. 

A letter of intent has already been signed by the two sides to establish China Confucius Centre at the AIOU main campus. The Gwadar centre will be first step forward to this direction to teach and popularise Chinese language in Pakistan.

Chinese language is going to play a key role in the region, promoting people-to-people contact, due to the One Belt One Road initiative and the importance of CPEC.

There is a need to develop educational corridor as well as to supplement CPEC through language connectivity, he added.

Language, literature and culture influence the mind of the people and are used as a tool to promote harmony and collective well-being of the people, that is the essence of One Belt One Road initiative of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, the VC said.

The proposed language centre has been found viable since the local community and manpower engaged in CPEC have shown keen interest in its establishment.

As per the mutual agreement, BIGC will set up Chinese and the Urdu learning centre at their respective institutions in Beijing as well. The two sides will also start joint academic programmes particularly in the field of teachers training and the printing technology that is commonly used by the educational institutions to meet their academic requirements.

Both BIGC and AIOU have decided to start operating Confucius Institute from Gwadar and then in Islamabad and other parts of the country like Gilgit, Skardu and Hunza.

In this scenario, AIOU has conducted a need-assessment study to check the demand and need of Chinese language and culture among the local community in Gwadar. The response from students, teachers, workers and business community is highly encouraging.

Dr Zahid Majeed, focal person of the project from AIOU visited Gwadar early this week and met all the stakeholders who assured their support in undertaking the project.

According to the VC, all possible efforts will be made to start the centre as soon as possible with the support of the university’s regional office, local community and local administration including Gwadar Development Authority.

The Chinese side will be given the update for taking necessary steps at their end.