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100 Mln Foreigners Learning Chinese by 2010
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By 2010 it's likely 100 million foreigners will be learning Chinese according to a forecast by the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.

"The Chinese language is gaining increasing popularity throughout the world and there's a big shortage of qualified teachers," said Xu Lin, of the National Office. Xu explained the government was making every effort to train more professionals to teach Chinese as a foreign language.

This year Beijing Normal University recruited 47 students for a Master's Degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language and the country will train upwards of 300 such students over the next four years.

The government has launched a national exam for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL) certificate. "Teachers who obtain a TCFL certificate will have opportunities to teach Chinese in a foreign country," explained Xu. More than 4,000 people are currently studying for these certificates.

Those seeking to qualify to teach Chinese as a foreign language require a good grasp of their own language including phonetics, vocabulary and grammar as well as English and Chinese culture.

As the number of overseas people expressing an interest in learning the language grows it's been estimated that at least 4 million Chinese language teachers will be needed worldwide by 2010.

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2006)

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