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British children told to learn Chinese

In view of Chinas growing politico-economic influence on world affairs, an increasing number of British students are encouraged to learn Chinese.

British School Secretary Ed Balls recently announced that one in seven secondary schools in Britain, which teach pupils aged 11-16, offer classes for Mandarin and Cantonese, two of the most important and influential Chinese dialects.

"In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and its vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world," AFP quoted Balls as saying.

"Thats why we want all secondary pupils to have the opportunity to learn up-and-coming languages like Mandarin if they choose, either at their own school or a nearby school or college," he added.

A recent poll published last year by the CBI business lobby group found that businesses are increasingly interested to recruit staff who speak Mandarin.

According to the poll, more than 38 percent of employers were looking for Mandarin or Cantonese speakers, compared to 52 percent for French and 43 percent for German.


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