India, China sign MoU to introduce Mandarin in CBSE schools

Beijing, Aug 24: Seeking greater people-to-people understanding, India and China on Friday signed an MoU to introduce Mandarin as an optional foreign language course in CBSE schools. Under the MoU signed by Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar and Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban, the official Chinese organisation that oversees teaching Mandarin abroad, China will train 300 teachers in its language universities to make a beginning. China would meet all the expenditure to train the 300 teachers, including their travel and lodging, as a gesture of friendship, Xu said.

The MoU envisages the exchanges of academic staff, teachers, trainees, experts and students, Jaishankar said addressing the gathering after the signing ceremony. It provides for development of curricula and exchange of educational material and support systems, he said. Describing it as an important step forward in the growing relationship between the two neighbours, Jaishankar said: "The initiative came at a time when efforts are underway to build a strategic and cooperative partnership, expanding trade and economic cooperation and working together on global issues."

"It is important that this is strengthened by greater people-to-people understanding," he added. The idea of introducing Mandarin in CBSE schools was mooted way back in 2010 by Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal during his visit here. According to Xu, it would normally take two years to train teachers as the Mandarin is a language of tones and strokes. But her organisation is looking to offer an intensive course as suggested by UPSC to complete the training in six months so that the course can be introduced at the earliest in the schools.


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