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Japanese Ambassador to Qatar, Kenjiro Monji (fourth right), with Yoshifumi Murakami, from the Japanese Cultural Center in Cairo and Kentaro Azuma, professor of Japanese language with Tariq bin Ziyad School Principal Hamad Mohamed Al Mannai (third right) and students who study Japanese during a visit to the school.Abdul Basit
By Isabel Ovalle
DOHA: Students of Tariq Bin Ziyad Independent Secondary School for Boys have begun Japanese language courses this year. This school is the first in Doha to offer Japanese as an optional language.
A group of 35 students of 11th grade comprise the first class, taught by Kentaro Azuma, professor of Japanese language at Qatar Eastern Language Institute, the only professional Japanese language school in Qatar. The 10 brightest scholars so far, participated in a ceremony on Wednesday, with the attendance of Japanese language expert Yoshifumi Murakami, from the Japanese Cultural Center in Cairo.
The Ambassador of Japan, Kenjiro Monji, and the principal of Tariq bin Ziyad School, Hamad Mohamed Al Mannai, as well as English language specialists from the Supreme Education Council (SEC), Dalia Nabeel and Mohammed Eljamal, took part in the event.
According to the new Japanese teacher, pupils will have to study for at least two years to have a basic knowledge of the language. To motivate the boys, there won’t be tests in this class.
Japanese language expert, Yoshifumi Murakami, said that “he’s very glad to see that young Qatari’s are interested in learning Japanese, even though Japan is very far from the Middle East”. He added that many Arabic speaking students have reservations about taking Japanese classes, “but these difficulties can be overcome.”
During the event, the Ambassador of Japan emphasised that Japan-Qatar relations are “very strong, this year we celebrate the 40th anniversary and we hope to diversify our relations in the future.”
In this context, he added that “language is very important in culture, Japan and Qatar belong to Asia in a larger sense, and I think the language will help the understanding. I know that learning Japanese language might be challenging but through the study of Japanese language, even in small paces, I really hope students will get to know Japan even better and be interested in the wide range of culture,” he added.
The official from SEC explained to The Peninsula that the number of optional third languages that are offered (currently Japanese and French) will grow.
She added that “new education is about learning languages; we will make our students ready for future events, they won’t be ready unless we help them with languages, and this starts in the schools.”
The Embassy of Japan has promoted Japanese language in Qatar and helped schools recruit teachers.
The Embassy has also invited Qatari educators and administrators to Japan under various programmes to provide them with first-hand experience of various Japanese educational and cultural institutions.