Home >> Trends

UK schools view Mandarin as vital skill

Updated: 2014-11-28 17:07:40

( China Daily Europe )

Share on

British rectors in this delegation paint Peking Opera masks in a language school in Tianjin. Zheng Xin / China Daily

British rectors in this delegation paint Peking Opera masks in a language school in Tianjin. Zheng Xin / China Daily

Britain hopes to double the number of students learning Chinese by 2020.

The number of schools offering Mandarin classes is growing throughout the United Kingdom, according to cultural and education section of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, as UK educators hope to open future doors for the nation's youth.

The report by the education department coincides with an eight-day visit by 59 British rectors, mostly from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to Chinese primary and middle schools from Oct 26 to Nov 2 in such cities as Tianjin; Suzhou, Jiangsu province; Chengdu, Sichuan province; and Zhuzhou, Hunan province.

The visit, organized by the Confucius Institute, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (commonly known as Hanban), and the consulate's cultural and education section, aimed to promote the benefits of learning Mandarin in the UK's primary and secondary schools, which cover the ages of 4 to 18.

"The visit was meant to help schools from China and the UK to share information and build partnerships, while advocating for a wider recognition of language benefits," says Wang Haiyan, a staff member with the consulate's cultural and education section.

"Many of the rectors from the UK are interested in introducing Mandarin as part of their regular primary and secondary school curriculums," she says.

Paul W. Thomson, rector at Jordanhill School in Glasgow, Scotland, which is funded by the Scottish government, says he is very interested in offering the school's students courses in Mandarin.

Thomson says all children from Jordanhill School are taught French for six years, from the ages of 10 to 15, and around 20 percent of students also study Spanish.

He says that since "young people of all ages are excited and interested to learn about China and develop an understanding of Mandarin, while many of our older students are keen to visit China", Jordanhill School is considering introducing Mandarin as a foreign language requirement.

1 2 3 Next
Related Stories
Editor's Pick
Hot words
Most Popular