Saturday, January 07, 2006

School Buzz: Mandarin is in

Chinese language is catching on in US classrooms as our leadership acknowledges the emerging global markets and our changing economy. Our Defense Department has contributed $700,000 to schools in Portland, OR to develop a long range program aimed at graduating students who will be fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Instruction begins in Kindergarten where students are most likely to develop foreign language skills.

This is not a solitary effort confined to Oregon. In the U.S. Senate, the Foreign Relations Committee is considering a proposal to allocate $1.3 billion (euro1.1 billion) to boost Chinese language and culture classes in public schools. China's education ministry has formed partnerships with states including Kentucky and Kansas to promote teacher exchange and training programs. Interestingly enough, the Chinese are pushing their university students to take English language courses to be competitive in the global market upon graduation.


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