Saturday 23 March 2019

A third of bosses want Chinese taught in schools

John Walshe

A THIRD of employers want Irish students to learn Chinese.

New research published yesterday reveals a lack of language skills is hampering business with China.

It found one-in-three employers think Mandarin Chinese should be on the Junior and Leaving Cert curriculum. Three-quarters think organising Chinese cultural activities will help to promote Chinese here.

The research, undertaken by the Chinese studies department at UCD, reveals almost 13pc of all secondary schools in the UK provide Mandarin teaching, but Chinese is not an option on the Irish curriculum. Just six schools have run teaching programmes of any kind in Mandarin Chinese.

The research, which was launched by Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin, recommends a longer-term sustainable approach which works towards the development of Chinese as a full-time subject. Learning from the experiences of other countries, it recommends the sharing of teachers between schools, enabling them to be offered full-time contracts so that quality staff are attracted and maintained. Dr Liming Wang, Director of the Irish Institute for Chinese Studies at UCD and the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, said the review of the senior cycle was an opportunity to include Chinese on the curriculum.

In a second study, 'Irish Business in China, Meeting the Inter-Cultural Challenges', almost nine out of 10 employer respondents said information about Chinese business practice was essential for doing business in China.

Irish Independent

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