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China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 08 / Page015

Couple teaches students IT skills

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-08 00:00

YINCHUAN-For students in China's metropolises, learning computer programming from foreign teachers is a rare opportunity. However, in the underdeveloped western region, an Indian couple has been teaching the subject for four years.

Nitesh Singh and his wife, Sucharita Kundu, have been teaching computer programming and IT English at Ningxia University in Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, since 2017.

This year, they have taken on a bigger workload as some foreign teachers are unable to return to China due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every week, the couple flies to Guyuan city some 300 kilometers away to teach at Ningxia Normal University. Sometimes, the journey can take up to six hours as a flight is not available.

"I enjoy being with the students. I'm so proud whenever I see them do well in class," Singh says.

Both Singh and Kundu work for National Institution of Information Technology, one of the largest IT education and training providers in India. In 2017, a cooperation agreement was inked between NIIT and Ningxia University, allowing students participating in the program to obtain a certificate from NIIT. That was also the year Singh and Kundu moved to Ningxia.

The region is comparatively underdeveloped with English education not widely adopted yet.

"I speak slowly with bilingual PowerPoint slides and encourage the students to speak English in class," Kundu says.

To encourage the students to practice what they have learned, Singh shows them apps he had developed and inspires the students to use programming to solve real-life issues.

"Now, my students can make some simple programs with Java, like food delivery or car-hailing apps," Singh says.

One way that Kundu encourages her students is her tradition of inviting the top five students of each class to a cooking party at the end of each semester. However, last semester, she sent the invitations to the five students with the worst English grades.

"They've changed a lot since then and are more active in class," she says.

Zhao Yiduo, a freshman at the university, says: "Teacher Kundu's class not only helped us improve our English and become more competitive in the job market, but it has also made us closer."

Over the past four years, the couple has fallen in love with Chinese culture. They enjoy the beauty of Helan Mountain, the desert in Ningxia and the local mutton dish.


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