|A pupil writes a Chinese poem in Chinese. (People's Daily Online/Li Lizhen)
Expansion of Chinese communities popularizes Chinese
A report released by Australia Research and Advisory Committee shows that people speaking Mandarin Chinese make up more than 1.5 per cent of the population in Australia, and that Chinese has been the largest commonly-used second language in Australia.
Au123.com, a Chinese news website under the Australia media group, analyzed the report in detail. According to the report, more than 21.5 million people are settled in Australia, 24.6 per cent of whom were born overseas. Immigrants from Asian countries including China and the Philippines is increasing year by year, with around 320,000 Chinese emigrating to Australia. Mandarin Chinese is the most common-used language in Australia after English, followed by Italian, Arabian, Cantonese, Greek and Vietnamese.
Merchants are looking to take advantage of business opportunities from the increase of Chinese living in Australia. In order to attract more tourists from China to visit and invest in Australia, a mapping company in Australia has released the first Chinese map of Australia.
Chinese is gaining popularity in New Zealand as well. According to statistics, New Zealand-born-Chinese account for 4.3 per cent of the population in New Zealand. The Chinese community, with 170,000 people, ranks fourth of the 300 different races in New Zealand.
China has become the focus of education in New Zealand in light of frequent trade between China and New Zealand.
Schools are eager to forge partnerships with their Chinese counterparts.
Increasingly frequent interactions between schools from the two countries are inspiring Chinese fever in Oceania.
More than 1500 public schools in Victoria State have become pioneers in introducing Chinese into their classes. Paul Ledwidge, the principal of Richmond West Primary school, said in an interview with Au123.com that interactions between schools are very necessary and are good for the establishment of Chinese study groups. The school has signed an agreement with Changjiang Road Primary in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province.
According to a report in the Herald Sun, in thenext five years Victoria State will send 1500 high school students to China for a 6-week course of study.
Nine students from Australia's Alkira Secondary College finished a successful course of study in China in April this year. “They have come back very mature, highly academically-inclined and their ambitions have gone through the roof,’’ says Ian McKenzie, the principal of the college.
Meanwhile, many schools in Australia are actively attempting bilingual education. According to reports from the Chinese media in Australia, Adelaide Primary School in South Australia will teach subjects including mathematics and geography in Mandarin Chinese. Local government plans to carry on bilingual education projects in 2016.
Furthermore, in order to familiarize their students with China, some schools are teaching their students the history of Chinese gold exploration in New Zealand 140 years ago.
Mainstream society is focused on Chinese
More Australians are developing an interest in Chinese.
"Schools in Australia urgently need to teach Chinese owing to China's rapid economic growth," says Ma Jiehua, in charge of the After School Chinese Program in Xinjinshan Chinese Language & Culture School in Melbourne. This program is very popular among local students.
According to Ma, this program has enrolled nearly 300 Australian students in 19 Chinese classes. Some parents and principals are also involved in the program.
The trend is also having an impact on business in New Zealand. In the light of the close connections between China and New Zealand, more companies in New Zealand are looking for staff with a command of Mandarin Chinese.
Simon, a 39-year-old man in charge of a consulting company, moved from Auckland to Shanghai four years ago. He writes on his SinaWeibo (Chinese version of twitter) that he is a New Zealander studying Chinese. Social media is one of the main platforms through which he studies Chinese.
Australia shares the same trend as New Zealand. According to Au123.com, companies in South Australia need to make an effort to develop an understanding of Chinese language and culture in order to find their place in the Chinese market.