Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ni hao: Indian calling China

The world's interest in learning Mandarin is soaring as the Chinese economy does the same. From April 2011 onwards students in CBSE schools will be introduced to Mandarin. Mandarin will be the 13th foreign language to be introduced in the curriculum. The popularization of the programme will face obstacles in implementation, reports The Financial Express.

As the Chinese economy soars, so does the world’s interest in Mandarin. India is the newest addition to the group of countries promoting Mandarin via schooling systems. CBSE has announced the introduction of Mandarin to its schools, starting April 2011, to acquaint young Indians with Chinese culture. Mandarin will be the 13th foreign language to be introduced in the curriculum, alongside French, German, Spanish, Arabic etc being taught in 4,000 schools across the country. Given China’s increasing weight in the world economy and that it is India’s largest trading partner, this step was in the offing. But its timing is nevertheless interesting.


However, Mandarin’s coming of age in India is still a while away, given the underlying challenges, one of which is the paucity of teachers. Another will be the script—while French and Spanish, the more popular foreign languages written are in the Roman script, students will have to learn a whole new script to be able to read and write Mandarin. But the biggest obstacle to Mandarin’s popularisation is the implementation of this programme. Only time will tell whether the government will be able to get it together in time or tardy implementation will be the reason we miss the party, yet again.

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