China is planning to dispatch more Chinese language teachers to overseas to meet the surging demand for Mandarin, an official with the Office of Chinese Language Council International said in Beijing Sunday.
"We are planning to offer three to five teachers or volunteers to each Confucius Institutions in the coming years," Xu Lin, director of the office, said Sunday
China has so far set up 155 Confucius Institutes, schools or classrooms in 53 countries and regions worldwide.
Xu said each year, there are 10,000 positions of teaching Chinese as a foreign language in the world by conservative estimate, but only 2,000 teachers are available from China.
Last year, China sent 1,004 Chinese teachers to 80 countries and 1,050 volunteers to 34 countries.
In addition to recruiting more Chinese teachers, the office also plans to launch Confucius Institute online and broadcast services to make it more accessible for people interested in learning Chinese, Xu said.
According to the Ministry of Education, about 30 million foreigners are learning Chinese, and the figure will hit 100 million by 2010. In China alone, the number of foreigners studying Mandarin has grown from 36,000 ten years ago to 110,000 this year.
The Confucius Institute, headquartered in Beijing, is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the Chinese language and culture. By 2010, 500 Confucius Institutes and classrooms are expected to be set up around the world.
Confucius, born in 551 BC, was a great Chinese thinker, philosopher, statesman and educator. He was also the founder of Confucianism.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2007)