chinese language schools

The Political Dimension of Chinese Language Schools

chinese language schools

Spreading their language and culture is part of the political and economic strategy for many countries that play a role in globalization. Germany has its Goethe Institut, France the Alliance Francaise, Great Britain the British Council and so on.

One of the languages that is clearly booming in terms of interest and long term usefulness is obviously Chinese. Parents across the globe enroll their kids in early Chinese language schools but also older people try to learn at least some useful phrases in order to get their foot into the market.

According to Joël Bellassen, a renown French Professor for Chinese and first Inspector General in the field of Chinese Language Teaching at the Ministry of Education in France the number of Chinese students in the country increased by between 20 percent and 30 percent every year on average since 2004 with currently 33,500 students taking Chinese-language classes in more than 600 secondary schools.

This makes France one of the leading countries in terms of offering Chinese classes in Europe. In comparison Germany has only 20 secondary-schools offering Chinese classes.

During a meeting with high-school students from Taiwan, Bellassen urged the country to get involved in the Chinese language schools market. As the country embraces Eastern and Western culture alike, Bellassen thinks that Taiwan could be very successful on the global language learning market, opening language schools and sending teachers abroad.

He also criticized that Chinese language schools that come from mainland China are often too commercialized and lack credibility in the examination system whereas Taiwan has embraced the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in its standardized Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language.

And of course there is also a political dimension to this proposal. Taiwan is not only embracing Western culture but is also an important economic partner and ally in Asia. With a deeply entrenched scepticism on communism in the Western world one can assume that Chinese language schools run by Taiwanese companies would be welcomed in France and other European countries.

Via Taipei Times | Image

  • chinamike

    Taiwan has been involved in Chinese language educational initiatives for decades. The problem is that China has gone at this with much greater fervor, politician will, (and money?) in recent years.

    You make this guy sound a bit eccentric for talking to high school students about this “issue”. Surely he could have found a better forum. Of course, given his position, I could see how it would be nice if China and Taiwan started throwing more “free” money at this problem. He might become a recipient of this largess.

    One of the biggest things the Taiwanese could do to succeed would be to stop teaching traditional Chinese characters and adopt simplified characters. But this isn’t going to happen. Taiwan and China are stuck in a competition between two different versions of Chinese and whose version do you think is going to win?