Posted March 07, 2020 09:04:17 The Chinese government has set up a new training scheme that aims to help Chinese learners catch up with international learning standards.
Key points:A Chinese language institute has set itself up as a platform for Chinese learners to trainThe aim is to get more Chinese to speak English on the mainland and help them to assimilate with the mainlandA government spokeswoman said the new system would target “overseas Chinese learners who need to gain English proficiency”.
The State Administration of Foreign Experts, which is run by the Ministry of Education, was set up in March 2018, when the government started to crack down on language use in the country.
Under the scheme, Chinese learners can train for up to four years in English, with the aim of improving their proficiency in Mandarin.
“The aim of the scheme is to encourage more Chinese students to study abroad and gain proficiency in English,” said a statement from the ministry.
“We hope that by the time they graduate from their studies abroad, they can be ready to work with the Chinese people and become an integral part of the mainland,” the statement said.
The initiative comes after China opened a new school for Chinese language learners in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in September.
The state-run China Academy of Language and Culture will teach two years of English and Chinese, with a target to have 1,000 students enrolled by 2020.
China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
The institute is being run by Shanghai Institute of Language Technology and Research, which was set-up in December 2018.
The ministry said it would also establish a Chinese language school in Guangdongs capital Beijing in 2020.
The scheme has been criticised by some academics who have criticised the move as it is not sufficiently transparent.
“What kind of system will be set up and who will decide what is good and bad?
Who will decide whether the new language school is a good place to teach Chinese or not?
That is the biggest problem,” said Michael Hsu, the chairman of the Hong Kong-based Association of Chinese Language and Cultural Studies (ACLCS).”
It’s not clear what the government is actually looking for.”
ACLDS is concerned the new Chinese language will be used by people who are not trained in the Chinese language, as they could be more likely to use foreign language on the Chinese mainland.
“This will be a major problem for the Chinese-speaking community in Hong Kong,” Hsu said.
“I would also worry that the Chinese learners will not be able to use their own language, so they will not have the skills they need to be successful on the [Hong Kong] mainland.”
Chinese learners’ rights’ group said the government had no evidence to back up its claims that the new school would be a good option for them to learn the language.
“It is impossible to assess the impact of this program on Chinese learners’ ability to acquire and retain language skills,” said Andrew Hui, an ACLDS researcher.
ACLCDS was formed in response to the “Great Leap Forward” of the 1960s, which led to the mass immigration of millions of Chinese.
It has campaigned for the rights of Chinese learners in Hongkong to be recognised.
Critics said the initiative was a blatant attempt to exploit the Chinese students, with no evidence it was making a difference.
“This scheme is not helping China’s language-dependent Chinese learners, who have been left behind in the wake of the Great Leap Forward,” said Dr Michael Lee, an associate professor of Chinese language and culture at the University of Sydney.
Chinese students can earn an English degree online through an exchange programme that allows them to enrol at universities in Australia.