So it is not surprising to read the news from UK on Sept 07, titled as “More than 5,000 children to learn Mandarin as part of the £10m scheme to make Britain more competitive globally“.
What is the program about?
The project is called Mandarin Excellence Program. The British government is going to invest £10million. More than 5,000 state secondary school pupils will intensively study the Mandarin Chinese language for 8 hours a week over the next 4 years. The aim is to make teenagers fluent by 2020.
The project will be launched first in 15 secondary schools before being rolled out.
British School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “A high level of fluency in Mandarin Chinese will become increasingly important in our globally competitive economy.
“As part of our drive to extend opportunity, we want to give young people the opportunity to study the language and to acquire fluency in both spoken and written Mandarin.
‘The Mandarin excellence programme helps us achieve this, offering intensive study in the language which will not only be personally enriching for students, but will also give them a significant advantage when they enter the world of work.”
Actually, the emphasis on Mandarin Chinese in UK started a while ago. In 2013, the former prime minister of UK, David Cameron said: ” I want Britain linked up to the world’s fast-growing economies. And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow’s business deals.
“By the time the children born today leaves school, China is set to be the world’s largest economy. So it’s time to look beyond the traditional focus on French and German and get many more children learning Mandarin.”
Isn’t it a good news? It is great to see how Chinese learner communities grow and more and more young people are learning Mandarin.