Schools need to offer Chinese

Re: District expands horse course, Feb. 2.

To the Editor,

Re: District expands horse course, Feb. 2.

Recently, it was reported that in the fall of the 2011-12 academic year Introduction to Horsemanship 10 had gone online for local students.

I welcome such a course, but it should be noted that it had to be added to the B.C. curriculum.

This made me wonder why our school district will not openly offer a course that is already part of the B.C. curriculum: Mandarin Chinese.

Prime Minister Harper’s visit to China (panda politics versus former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s ping pong diplomacy, if you will) is evidence that we have a growing closeness with this country, which means opportunities for those versed in this language.

But Mandarin Chinese is not being seriously considered. Parent groups have approached schools within our district.

The reaction of local administrators has been of a bottom-up Catch-22 nature: we will offer it if the students demand it. However, two decades ago, the government of Alberta took a top-down approach, and today students are certainly seizing on the chance to study Chinese.

We want our students to have a competitive advantage once they finish high school and go on to university. Whether they choose an area such as business, the humanities, or social sciences, there will certainly be room for them to use their knowledge of Chinese language and culture.

For example, Canada has now become a desired destination for Chinese tourists. If B.C. has workers who possess the linguistic and cultural understanding to welcome these visitors, they will return.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders in business and politics.

If we give these young people a valuable tool such as Chinese, they will have an understanding of and ability to communicate and deal with this emerging global giant on both an international and domestic stage.

Our school district administrators need to show they are willing to give students the means to keep up with the changing demands of the world. The addition of Chinese would certainly be a start.

Maurice Gallant

Nanaimo

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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