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A Chinese institution of excellence

Editor: zhangrui 丨CRI

01-05-2017 15:01 BJT

By Andrew Ngozo for gmmg.com

The 11th of January 2017 is going to signal a new start for many parents and their children. Many of the latter will be embarking on the journey of the rest of their lives at a time when the South African education system has been shambolic at best and beset by many a scandal. The Pretoria Chinese School is an institution that nurtures excellence among its learners in all its forms. As a parent myself, I would recommend the Pretoria Chinese School to any parent that wants the best education for their offspring. However, at this juncture, the question that would be top of mind for the reader would be: what is unique about the Pretoria Chinese School? We shall explore the pros and cons below.

According to John Gelling, the principal of the Pretoria Chinese School, the school has a long and proud history of providing quality education to children from within Pretoria and its surrounding areas. “We take children from Grade 0 right up until Grade 12. Although the school was established by the Chinese, we welcome everyone. We cater for those who wish to learn Mandarin or those who wish to learn English as a second or third language,” he said. Gelling added that the medium of instruction is English and every child learns Mandarin from Grade 0 as a compulsory second additional language. Afrikaans as a first additional language is also taught while IsiZulu as a second additional language was introduced in Grade 1 last year and will progress up the grades each year.

Why the emphasis on teaching Mandarin at the school? Mandarin Chinese is becoming a vital business tool in the wake of China’s growth into a global economic super power and South Africa’s largest trading partner. In some industries, Mandarin Chinese is vital and a prerequisite for employment.  Started in 1934, the school has grown in leaps and bounds and does not only accept South Africans but nationalities from other countries from around the world. Jerrold Law is one of the directors at the school where almost his entire offspring have been in attendance. He says the school has thrived through some difficult times but it has remained self-sufficient and self-funding. “We employ top class educators who have been producing learners of distinction in all fields. The school has had immense support from the Chinese community in Pretoria and across South Africa as well as from the parents in general. We are determined to accomplish and sustain all the hopes, dreams and goals envisaged for our long term future,” he points out.

Single mother of twins (both learners at the school) Tania Masebe happened to be at the school for an administrative matter when I visited the institution on Wednesday, a week before the South African academic year was due to kick off. Asked why the particular choice of school she said that although the tuition fees were a bit too steep compared to similar schools, she did not regret spending her money at the Pretoria Chinese School. “Not only will my children be alumni of an internationally renowned school but they will be well rounded young adults upon reaching their last year of schooling. They are both involved in various sports and it is widely accepted that sport does a lot to shape an individual. The fact that it was originally a Chinese school does not bother me because they accept people from all ethnic groups and nationalities. The same cannot be said about some of the best schools in Pretoria and in South Africa. It performs excellently on the academic front as well as in extra mural activities. It, simply, is the best school by far,” she said.

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