Fri, Feb 08, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan urged to lead language learning

Staff writer, with CNA, Paris

Taiwan should establish Chinese-language centers overseas and work with other countries to provide training programs and qualified Chinese-language teachers, a French government official suggested on Wednesday in Paris.

Although China has been active in promoting Chinese-language learning around the world, their examination system lacks credibility and the schools are too commercialized, said Joel Bel-Lassen, inspector-general of Chinese teaching at the French Ministry of Education.

Taiwan, which has adopted a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, could establish its authority in Chinese-language learning overseas, Bel-Lassen said during a meeting with a group of Taiwanese high-school students who are on a cultural exchange program in France.

As a liberal country that embraces Eastern and Western cultures, Taiwan could be successful in the global language learning market, providing not just centers ,but also teachers, he added.

The number of students in France learning Chinese has increased by between 20 percent and 30 percent every year on average since 2004, he said. Currently, a total of 33,500 secondary-school students are taking Chinese-language classes, he said, adding that France is one of the leading European countries in this regard, with more than 600 secondary schools offering Chinese-language courses compared with 20 schools in Germany.

Bel-Lassen also praised Taiwan’s rich culture and expressed hopes that its exchanges with France will improve significantly in the future.

The 15 students, from the Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University, are in France to promote Taiwanese culture and Chinese-language learning among young people there. The group arrived on Sunday.

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