Youngsters sent to classes to be able to do business with new superpower in future

Bradford’s youngsters are being urged to learn Mandarin so they can grow up to do business with the world’s next superpower.

The British Council yesterday said the number of schools offering the language was “far too small”, and there was a real risk that the UK economy would fall behind as a result.

But in Bradford, savvy parents are beginning to send their children to weekend classes, hoping to give their offspring a foot up in the workplace.

Bradford Chinese School was originally set up in 2011 for British-born children of Chinese immigrants, but is now seeing more and more pupils from other backgrounds signing up for lessons.

The school, which this week moved into new premises at Bradford Grammar School, is run by volunteers who teach Mandarin and Chinese art classes to about 40 children each weekend.

Anita Zhang, a volunteer teacher, said about 15 per cent of their pupils were now from non-Chinese families.

She said: “Their parents may have previously been teaching in China or doing business with Chinese companies and some of them will have stayed in China for a number of years.

“They want their children to know Chinese as well and maybe they can follow in their parents’ footsteps. I think it is to give them something which will help them compete with the world.”

Miss Zhang, who was born in China and first came to the UK about ten years ago, admitted Mandarin wasn’t an easy language for English speakers to master, especially as it had a completely different alphabet.

Bradford-based logistics company Advanced Supply Chain has strong links with China and hopes to start a major new export project there in 2014.

Chief executive Mike Danby said learning Chinese would become essential in the coming years.

He said: “In years to come understanding Chinese will become essential and I’d wholeheartedly encourage the next generation to welcome any opportunities to learn. This will ensure that British businesses remain competitive and are well-positioned for future growth.”

Stephen Wright, president of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said more and more local businesses were tapping into the Chinese market and that learning foreign languages was a key skill for business people.

He said: “We shouldn’t be reliant on getting others to adapt to our language and culture.”

But adding Chinese to the curriculum isn’t as easy as it sounds, according to the National Union of Teachers.

Its Bradford spokesman, Ian Murch, said two major impediments were a lack of qualified Chinese teachers in the UK and a difficulty in fitting Mandarin into curriculums when European languages remained so popular.

Comments (9)

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11:11am Tue 5 Feb 13

glorious1911 says...

It might be an idea to encourage English speaking in Bradford as well... key skills and all that.
It might be an idea to encourage English speaking in Bradford as well... key skills and all that. glorious1911

12:48pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Outraged English Subject says...

"Going back to the actual story, I believe Mandarin should be a choice given to the children along with German, French etc. as a second language. In years to come this would be useful to have, as globally the only business languages that will be spoken are English and Mandarin.”


This may be closer to happening then we all think. China is after all the new tiger economy.
"Going back to the actual story, I believe Mandarin should be a choice given to the children along with German, French etc. as a second language. In years to come this would be useful to have, as globally the only business languages that will be spoken are English and Mandarin.” This may be closer to happening then we all think. China is after all the new tiger economy. Outraged English Subject

12:56pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Chillum Bantam says...

Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week!
Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week! Chillum Bantam

5:07pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Not so simple says...

Kids learning foreign languages, don't make me laugh.

The docile teachers and teaching assistants that I have had the displeasure of speaking with cannot speak English let alone teach other languages.

Kids unable to add up, unable to write, unable to think for themselves or use their initiative...these are your future teachers and we already have some of these in the mainstream schools from nursery to upper school.

European countries have been teaching students various languages for decades, we cannot get our kids to speak English let alone master mandarin or French.

Take a wander to schools outside Bradford and you will experience a better calibre of teacher and better calibre of student.

Some schooling needs to be done at home...most nowadays leave it to inferior people who have ended up as teachers!

Typical, Bradford is again decades behind the rest of the world.
Kids learning foreign languages, don't make me laugh. The docile teachers and teaching assistants that I have had the displeasure of speaking with cannot speak English let alone teach other languages. Kids unable to add up, unable to write, unable to think for themselves or use their initiative...these are your future teachers and we already have some of these in the mainstream schools from nursery to upper school. European countries have been teaching students various languages for decades, we cannot get our kids to speak English let alone master mandarin or French. Take a wander to schools outside Bradford and you will experience a better calibre of teacher and better calibre of student. Some schooling needs to be done at home...most nowadays leave it to inferior people who have ended up as teachers! Typical, Bradford is again decades behind the rest of the world. Not so simple

5:22pm Tue 5 Feb 13

RollandSmoke says...

If the message is that the kids need to learn Mandarin because there will be no jobs left in Bradford in 5-10 years time when they leave school, then for once I admire Bradford council for their honesty.
If the message is that the kids need to learn Mandarin because there will be no jobs left in Bradford in 5-10 years time when they leave school, then for once I admire Bradford council for their honesty. RollandSmoke

5:30pm Tue 5 Feb 13

JCraig89 says...

This is the most preposterous thing I've read to date.
This is the most preposterous thing I've read to date. JCraig89

7:04pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Rambo says...

Chillum Bantam wrote:
Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week!
Move along, nothing to see here.....
[quote][p][bold]Chillum Bantam[/bold] wrote: Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week![/p][/quote]Move along, nothing to see here..... Rambo

7:12pm Tue 5 Feb 13

glorious1911 says...

RollandSmoke wrote:
If the message is that the kids need to learn Mandarin because there will be no jobs left in Bradford in 5-10 years time when they leave school, then for once I admire Bradford council for their honesty.
Maybe the Economic Development Unit is seeking to attract Chinese sweat shops to Bradford...
[quote][p][bold]RollandSmoke[/bold] wrote: If the message is that the kids need to learn Mandarin because there will be no jobs left in Bradford in 5-10 years time when they leave school, then for once I admire Bradford council for their honesty.[/p][/quote]Maybe the Economic Development Unit is seeking to attract Chinese sweat shops to Bradford... glorious1911

7:17pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Outraged English Subject says...

Rambo wrote:
Chillum Bantam wrote:
Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week!
Move along, nothing to see here.....
;-)
[quote][p][bold]Rambo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chillum Bantam[/bold] wrote: Its back! Sure it was £lushed last week![/p][/quote]Move along, nothing to see here.....[/p][/quote];-) Outraged English Subject

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