Cairo University's Confucius Institute no longer targets only university students of Chinese language, but it started to attract students from different faculties and will soon open branches in more universities and schools nationwide in Egypt, the institute manager told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday.
"Over the past two years, we started to receive students of irrelevant faculties such as engineering, antiquities, science, law and commerce, besides tour guides who would like to learn Chinese language for career development," said Professor Rehab Mahmoud, manager of Confucius Institute and head of Chinese Language Department at Cairo University.
The professor explained that Confucius Institute has opened branches in many places outside Cairo University, including Pharos University in Alexandria province, Benha University in Qalyoubiya province and Fayoum University in Fayoum province, besides other branches in several high, preparatory and elementary schools across the country.
"From the next semester, we will open a branch in Misr University for Science and Technology in Cairo and another in Aswan University in Upper Egypt's Aswan province," Professor Mahmoud told Xinhua, noting the institute hosts in 2016 about 1,200 students besides some 600 students in its various branches.
Becoming a bridge for Egyptian-Chinese cultural interaction, Confucius Institute was founded in Cairo University in 2007 as per an agreement with Peking University, and the institute is scheduled to hold a ceremony to mark its 10th anniversary in 2017.
"To be honest, Confucius Institute is so much cared for by Cairo University, Peking University as well as the Chinese embassy in Cairo and they all swiftly respond to resolve any obstacles facing the institute," said the institute chief.
Mahmoud added that Chinese companies in Egypt ask Confucius Institute to recommend Egyptian Chinese-speaking employees for them. "We have recently recommended some for Chinese contractors working in the construction of Egypt's new administrative capital city."
Earlier in December, the institute in Cairo was awarded as a "Model Confucius Institute" during the 11th Confucius Institute Conference held in Kunming city of southwest Yunnan Province in China and attended by some 2,200 representatives from 140 countries and regions.
"We are so proud of the award. It was really the result of massive efforts as we held a lot of activities to mark 2016 as the Egyptian-Chinese Cultural Year," she said.
The professor, also awarded as one of the best Confucius Institute managers last year, said that the institute was also selected by Hanban, Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing, to be the development center for Chinese-teaching professors in the Arab region.
As for cooperation with Peking University, Professor Mahmoud illustrated that Cairo University has recently held a high-level forum in cooperation with Peking University that was attended by 26 professors and its second version will soon be held in Cairo University in 2017.
"We also held many activities attended by Chinese professors from various universities including week-long forums on Chinese sports, music, arts, etc, during which a music band from Peking University staged performances in the Opera House and Cairo University," the professor told Xinhua.
Egyptian higher education top officials refer to China's educational experience as inspiring and the exchanging academic visits and cooperation with Chinese universities as necessary interaction for both countries that enjoy growing bilateral relations.
"Among the key events joined by Confucius Institute was Egypt-China University Presidents Forum held in Cairo University in March and was attended by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong," said the Confucius Institute manager, noting the institute had at least six cultural activities per month throughout 2016.