The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is once again planning to introduce Mandarin in schools for Class 6 students. After unsuccessful attempts in the past, where Indian teachers could not pick up the language despite multiple training programmes, the board has now signed up for teacher exchange and training that will allow teachers from China to come to India to teach students and train teachers.
Mandarin will be offered as an optional third language in selected schools on a pilot basis, possibly from the upcoming academic year, and could be extended to other schools if the response is good. “In the past three years, programmes to train teachers in Mandarin have not been successful. So, we have decided to join hands with a reputed language institute recommended by the Chinese government,’’ said a spokesperson of the CBSE board.
The board has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hanban Institute, nominated by the Chinese government’s ministry of education. This will lead to an exchange programme involving teachers, trainees, experts and students between CBSE schools and the institute.
The board and schools hope the programme will help thm get experts to train teachers to teach Mandarin. “It will benefit us if Chinese teachers come to teach the course, at least until our own teachers become proficient in it,’’ said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar School, Santacruz.
City schools feel there will be many takers for the language. “China is a force to reckon with. People feel the need to learn Chinese as it will open up job opportunities,” said Bir. She added, however, that students still prefer German and French over Chinese languages.
The board had announced the introduction of Mandarin in the 2011-12 academic year. But the initiative failed to take off and language training was discontinued halfway through the year.