State government encouraging learning of Mandarin

KUCHING: With Mandarin fast becoming a global language due to international trade with China, there have been increasing efforts by the state government to encourage Mandarin literacy among Sarawakians.

A leading local Bumiputera businessman here told The Borneo Post yesterday that although there is no specific programme to encourage other races to take up Chinese education, he noted there is already a marked increase in demand for Chinese education among the Bumiputera community.

He believed that this was due to the state government’s positive policy towards Chinese education which is in tandem with the current commercial realities.

Earlier this year, The Borneo Post reported Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg saying that the state government viewed Chinese education as an important asset to Sarawak.

The report also stated that more than 19,000 Bumiputera students were enrolled in Chinese primary schools in Sarawak as at March 2017, with the number rising steadily.

This is widely regarded as a welcome development in view of the growing importance of trade relations with China, which necessitates the creation of a new generation of Sarawakians who are multi-lingual and hence, able to better engage with their China counterparts through commerce and culture.

The rising enrolment in Chinese educational schools by non-Chinese is a global trend as China exerts its influence worldwide especially in business.

Recently it was reported that the United Kingdom government hoped to have 400,000 students enrolled in Mandarin courses by 2020, with 29 Confucius Institutes and 148 Confucius Classrooms having been established in the UK according to statistics from the Education Department with the Chinese Embassy in Britain.

In the US, it was also reported that a multinational initiative, led by the US-China Strong Foundation, aimed to increase the number of American students studying the language to one million by 2020.

Source: The Borneo Post