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Mandarin Chinese teachers in high demand in Indonesia

Posted on Aug 07 2014 | IANS

Jakarta, Aug 6 : The demand for teachers of Mandarin Chinese is soaring in Indonesia as a rising number of students is showing interest in that language amid deepening bilateral relations, an Indonesian Mandarin Chinese expert said Wednesday.

The Chinese language has gradually gained large popularity in Indonesia and the number of Mandarin Chinese students, especially the local Indonesians, is increasing year by year, Xinhua quoted Arifin Zain, the Indonesia Mandarin education coordinating board executive chairman, as saying during a meet.

Indonesia, with the largest Chinese Indonesian population, has seven million Mandarin Chinese users and learners, according to the data released by Hanban, or the Confucius Institute Headquarters, a Chinese public institution that provides Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services.

Zain said, however, "the gap between the supply and demand of Chinese language teachers is very big" and Indonesia badly needs more qualified Chinese teachers.

There are at present only 220 Chinese teachers from the Chinese mainland teaching in Indonesia, and that is far from enough to meet the huge demand, the expert said.

For over 30 years, during president Suharto's iron-fisted rule, anything related to Chinese culture was restricted. Chinese schools were banned and people were discouraged from speaking the language in public, according to The Jakarta Post.

Since his downfall in 1998, Indonesia has had the freedom to fully explore the Chinese culture.

For the future development of the Indonesia's Mandarin Chinese studies, Zain urged both the Indonesian and Chinese governments to improve education and cultural cooperation, promoting the bilateral teacher exchange and visa facilitation programme.

"I expect more overseas volunteer Chinese teachers can come and teach in Indonesia and more Confucius Institutes from China can be built," Zain said.

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