East China Normal University has been playing a pivotal role in teaching Mandarin to foreigners at a time when global interest in the language is growing.
Since 2008, when the Global Institute of Chinese Language Teacher Education was established at the university, more than 1,000 Mandarin teachers from overseas and China have taken classes annually there.
The mission of the institute is to cultivate Mandarin teachers for foreign countries and regions based on their requirements, says Ding Anqi, vice-dean of the School of International Chinese Studies at ECNU and deputy director of the institute.
Teachers from overseas can either apply for a master's program or participate in short-term courses, spanning weeks to six months. Foreigners from nearly 50 countries and regions, including the United States, European and African nations, Australia, New Zealand and Russia have studied there.
More than 90 percent of those who studied at the institute work in China-related fields and businesses after returning to their home countries, and some have even worked as deans of the department of Chinese language and literature in their local universities, says Ding.
Zhang Lu, an official at the university's global education center, singled out Dayawanti, a scholar from India who graduated in the 1990s from ECNU, saying that she went on to become a key figure in Mandarin education at an influential Indian university. She was a member of an expert panel that translated Chinese classics into a local language in 2017. Dayawanti translated Ba Jin's famous 1933 novel Jia (Family).
The university has also been offering tailor-made Mandarin syllabus and textbooks for primary and middle schools in countries such as Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and South Africa, over the past decade.
We initiated textbook compiling for the UAE last year. The Chinese team provided language material and the UAE team was responsible for incorporating localized content. Their side applauded the collaboration as a new model of cultural exchange between the two countries, says Ding.
Source: China Daily