The Central Board of Secondary Education is poised to introduce Mandarin Chinese in class sixth from April next year "in view of China emerging as one of the major global economies and Mandarin being spoken by a large population of the world".
It has already written to schools in this regard. Education minister Kapil Sibal had mooted the idea almost two months back on his visit to China.
"The general objectives will be to enable the learner to communicate effectively and build proficiency in the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking in Mandarin Chinese," said Vineet Joshi, CBSE chairman. The emphasis will also be on building sensitivity and awareness regarding China's culture and traditions.
CBSE's methodology is based on a multi-skill, activity-based, learner-centred approach. Aural oral teaching and testing are integral features of the teaching process.
"Care is taken to fulfil the functional (communicative), literary (aesthetic) and cultural (sociological) needs of the learner. In such a situation, the teacher will be the facilitator of learning and will present language items, contrive
CBSE offers 32 languages at the secondary and senior secondary levels out of which 12 are foreign. These include Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Portuguese, Persian, and Nepali. There are 4,000 schools that offer foreign languages with 800-1,000 being added every year.
However, a hindrance to teaching Mandarin Chinese is a lack of teachers.
CBSE will conduct training for teachers to make them understand the fundamentals of the pedagogy and contents.
"Although we will get to know the actual numbers on the faculty who can teach and the students who are interested in learning the language by January, we do plan to get Chinese teachers to train our teachers here. And then there will be teacher training," Joshi said.
An official in the ministry of human resource development added: "The groundwork is being done and the models of teaching are being evolved. Either the students will be sent to China or their teachers will come here." Over 7,000 Indian students study in China.