NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (July 19, 2022) – Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley, Senior Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), had high commendations for 14 students from high schools across Nevis who passed a Test Of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL), indicating their proficiency at speaking Mandarin.
Jenieve Thomas, Nathalie Providence, Kaidyane Parris, Toussaint Trotman, Jewel Perkins, Kereisha Jederon, Dekijay Dore, and Stoute Obrian passed the Novice Level 1 test, while Kalliya Isaac, Malia Trotman, Shirmia Thompson, Thierry Thompson, Kalyah Jones, and Ewin Telemaque passed the Novice 2 level. The test was administered locally but graded in Taiwan.
Premier Brantley was instrumental in ensuring that the students on Nevis had this exposure to the Mandarin language, having advocated over a number of years for it to be taught in the schools on the island.
“This was a dream that we had some time ago of having Mandarin taught here. So we reached out and I was so happy that the Government of Taiwan responded positively and Ms. Chen has been here with us all during the pandemic until now, to the point where our students have achieved some level of proficiency [in Mandarin]. I think that this is an example of ideas that are perhaps out of the box; new ideas.
“I’m particularly pleased that we piloted this project in Nevis. The idea was ultimately we could roll it out nationally, but certainly, I want you to know how proud I am that you are among the first who have had the opportunity to learn this and to do so formally,” he said during an awards ceremony for the students, held Monday, July 18, 2022, at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park.
During the ceremony some of the students had demonstrated their ability to speak a foreign language; Ms. Shirmia Thompson sang the national anthem of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Mr. Thierry Trotman and Mr. Ewin Telemaque presented a bilingual speech.
Premier Brantley said in subsequent comments, “Imagine my joy to attend the graduation of our students who have successfully passed the Mandarin course at two levels of proficiency. Imagine my pride to listen young Miss Shirmia Thompson sing the Taiwanese national anthem. Imagine my absolute satisfaction to hear Thierry Trotman and Ewin Telemaque deliver beautiful speeches in English and Mandarin.
“This is what innovation and good government policy look like. Mandarin opens the world to over one billion speakers of the language, covering over 11 percent of the globe. Huge congratulations to our Ministry of Education for believing in this vision and bringing it to fruition.”
His Excellency Michael Lin, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Kitts and Nevis, extended congratulations to the successful students, noting how impressed he was with the students’ ability to speak Mandarin.
“A tear almost came from my eye when I listened to Miss Thompson sing the national anthem of the Republic of China, Taiwan. It is the first time I listened to a Nevisian student who sang our national anthem. I am so touched and I clapped the hardest; she really did an excellent job.
“I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to the young Nevisians who have attained the first certification on your path to mastering the Mandarin language…As you continue to learn Mandarin it will also bring our two countries closer and closer. I believe with more and more youngsters from Nevis learning to speak Taiwan’s language and understand Taiwan’s culture, Taiwan will one day be your second home and also continue to be the best friend of the Federation,” he said.
Premier Brantley thanked Ambassador Lin for his continued commitment to the island of Nevis and to the wider federation. He also expressed gratitude to the Government of Taiwan for providing the services of Ms. Chi Chen, who journeyed from Taiwan to teach Mandarin in the high schools on Nevis.