More than 5000 British children to be taught Mandarin

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-09-24 16:37:27

More than 5,000 British students will be taught Mandarin in schools, after a 15 million US dollar funding boost announced Wednesday by the British government.

Last year, only about 2 percent of state funded primary schools in Britain and 5 percent of state funded secondary schools offered pupils the opportunity to learn Chinese as a curriculum subject.

The new funding, sanctioned by British Chancellor George Osborne, will increase the quality and quantity of Mandarin teaching in schools, giving thousands more young people the chance to study this important language, the government's Treasury Department said in a statement.

Government Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "The relationship between UK and China is vital to our growing economy which is why we want even more young people, from all backgrounds, to have the opportunity to learn Mandarin."

"The funding will include recruiting and training more teachers in state schools across the UK. It is the government's ambition that this investment will allow an additional 5,000 students to leave school having studied Mandarin," he added.

Osborne, currently on a five-day trade mission to China, said: "This investment means we can give more young people the opportunity to learn a language that will help them succeed in our increasingly global economy."

In most British schools, French and Spanish have been the traditional second languages taught, with Russian and Latin other options. But there has been a growing trend in offering Mandarin in classrooms.

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