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Obama Wants to Create China-Savvy Generation by Seeking 1 Million Mandarin Learners by 2020

Obama Seeks to Create China-Savvy Generation by Seeking 1 Million Mandarin Learners by 2020

In a move to help increase positive relations between the U.S. and China, Obama announced an initiative to support teaching five times more students to speak the Mandarin language by 2020.

The initiative was announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Washington D.C., where Obama announced hopes for 1 million children to be educated in Mandarin versus the 200,000 being educated presently.

“The more U.S. students learn Mandarin, the greater their understanding of Chinese culture, history and institutions, and the better prepared they – our future leaders - will be to work constructively with their Chinese counterparts to ensure U.S. interests are achieved,” said TheHill.com while explaining the motivation behind Obama’s announcement.

The initiative is being called 1 Million Strong, and it “isn’t just about language learning. It is about creating a pipeline of young Americans who are exposed to China; it’s about preparing a China-savvy generation; it’s about opening doors for American youth – no matter their background, wherever they may live - to job opportunities and careers at home and abroad,” the article said.

“We as a nation have a vast learning gap when it comes to China and language study. Currently, between 300 million and 400 million Chinese students are learning English, but only 200,000 Americans are learning Chinese. And in China, English is a mandatory part of the curriculum for all K-12 students.”

The last time Obama announced an initiative to use education to improve relations with China, the result was extremely positive. In 2009, he announced an initiative called 100,000 Strong to ensure 100,000 U.S. students studied abroad in China by 2014. That goal was met, a reason TheHill is using as evidence to be hopeful for the future.

Read the full story here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

10/23/2015

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