Chinese language learning to get bigger boost globally
Updated: November 10, 2021 09:06 China Daily

China will push for more international organizations and conferences to include Chinese as an official language or working language, given its increasingly important role in international communication and the country's rising influence globally, the Ministry of Education said.

The Chinese language was adopted as one of the official languages of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in January, the ministry said.

In response to a proposal made this year by a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference about the challenges and risks facing international Chinese language education, the ministry said great achievements have been made in Chinese language education globally.

More than 1,500 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms have been established in 159 countries, and their courses have been taken by more than 13 million Chinese-language learners, the ministry said.

Moreover, over 180 countries have conducted Chinese-language teaching programs and 75 countries have incorporated the language into their national education system by issuing laws and regulations, it said.

More than 4,000 foreign universities have established Chinese-language departments, majors and courses, and more than 75,000 primary and secondary schools and training institutions worldwide have opened Chinese language courses, the ministry said.

There are more than 25 million foreigners currently learning the language and accumulatively almost 200 million foreigners have learned the language, it said.

With China's growing economic power and global influence, people around the world are more eager to learn the language and know about the country, which has provided a historic opportunity for the sustainable development of international Chinese language education, the ministry said.

However, the sector still faces many challenges including a lack of comprehensive standards, teachers and teaching materials, the COVID-19 pandemic and the politicization of Chinese learning by a small number of countries.

The ministry will continue to revise the standards of Chinese-language teachers, teaching materials, exams and evaluation. It will also push for more private, localized and professional development of Confucius Institutes.

Kendall Kracke, the global champion of the 20th Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, said she began to learn the language when she was 18 years old.

The 24-year-old from the United States said that although the journey of learning the language has not always been smooth, she has never considered giving up due to her love for China.

As a PhD candidate in Chinese language education in Portland State University, Oregon, she also teaches Chinese at a local secondary school.

Kracke said that she wants to continue to be a Chinese teacher and let more of her students fall in love with the language and the country from experiencing Chinese culture and visiting the country.

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