Brighton College, an independent school in southern England's East Sussex, will be the first English school to make Chinese a compulsory language subject starting from September.
Brighton College said in a news release late on Monday that Mandarin Chinese will join French, Spanish and Latin as a core language for 13-to-18-year-old pupils.
Head teacher Richard Cairns said he will join the first classes in September to learn the subject himself.
"One of my key tasks is to make sure pupils at Brighton College are equipped for the realities of the 21st century," said Cairns.
He said around a dozen native Chinese speakers are currently studying at the college.
"I very much hope they will be able to help our native Sussex boys and girls get to grips with what I imagine to be a rather challenging experience," he said.
"I have also agreed to join the first Mandarin Chinese class ... I think it is the best way for me to show the pupils how important I regard this new addition to our core curricula," Cairns said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2006)