Teach Mandarin in British schools to show children how China matters, says Boris Johnson (who is learning it himself)

British schoolchildren should learn to speak Chinese language Mandarin, Boris Johnson said today. This is from the Daily Mail

The London Mayor said youngsters growing up in the UK needed to understand the culture and history of China to prepare them for the global battle for jobs.

Mr Johnson believes Mandarin should be taught in schools alongside traditional subjects like French and German, to reflect the power shift from West to East…

He said children would grow up naturally knowing about China’s importance.

Asked whether all schoolchildren they should learn Mandarin as standard, Mr Johnson said: ‘Why not? Absolutely. My kids are learning it so why not? Definitely, definitely.’

It marks a dramatic change in opinion for the senior Tory, who insisted in 2005 that ‘we do not need to teach our babies Mandarin’ and claimed ‘China will not dominate the globe’.

Earlier this year a study by the British Council and HSBC found three per cent of primary school teachers and nine per cent of secondary teachers said their school offered Mandarin lessons.

From September next year primary schools will be required to teach at least one language, including Mandarin alongside French, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin or Ancient Greek…

More at:  Teach Mandarin in British schools to show children how China matters, says Boris Johnson (who is learning it himself)

Northern Ireland recently announced a significant initiative to teach Mandarin and Chinese culture in its schools – is the rest of the UK doing enough and is Boris Johnson right in suggesting all schoolchildren should learn the language? Please let us know what you think in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove Isn’t this already happening in some schools? And not just private schools, Boris. Teachers ahead of the game as usual.

  2. PeterHutchinso5

    SchoolsImprove Can we now send Boris to France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc to loudly proclaim that European languages matter too?

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