Sindh govt unveils ambitious plan to teach Mandarin

Classes to start this year at Cadet College Petaro.

Express September 05, 2011


The official language of China, Mandarin, could become a compulsory subject across schools in Sindh from the year 2013 if all goes to plan.

Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah made this announcement on Sunday after a meeting with the education department at CM House in Karachi. As an ‘experiment’, Cadet College Petaro will become the first institution to start, with its sixth grade students this year.

Its principal, Commander Afzal Malik, told The Express Tribune that the proposal is still fledgling and they need to work out a plan. “I can only say that I would like to start it as soon as possible as China is a big neighbour and big economy and offers us great potential,” he said, when asked how it would affect students.

Teaching Mandarin in Sindh was proposed during the president’s last visit to the People’s Republic of China. “The next generation is of the Chinese,” said an official who attended the meeting. People in China are learning Urdu and it would be only beneficial for the people of Pakistan to learn Chinese, which would help get them exposure in their growing economy.

So far, only an understanding exists at the government level but soon, help will be sought from education circles in China to go ahead with the plan in Pakistan. Aside from teachers, a syllabus will have to be prepared and it will need to be approved by the bureau of curriculum policy.

The chief minister announced that as an incentive, students who complete the study of Chinese till Matric and higher classes will be given scholarships for further study. They could be rewarded with marks, international educational scholarships, international tours and training.

The question arises, however, how Sindh’s high schools will be able to teach a foreign language when it struggles to maintain standards for Sindhi, Urdu and English.

The official who attended the meeting acknowledged these challenges and said that this was why they were thinking of only implementing it as a pilot project first in 2013.

The meeting was attended by senior provincial minister for education and literacy, Pir Mazharul Haq, Salman Farooqi, education secretary Mohammad Siddiq Memon, among others.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th,  2011.


yaqoot mir | 10 years ago | Reply Good decision, a lot of readers here think this is a burden on students? how is learning English not a burden on the same students? sich matters always have tubulent starts, incentives for learning the language now will pay dividends once an entire generation grown up knowing the Chinese language. Alarmists in our country who think this will a source of a cultural invasion from China are pretty much silent when the assault by english is behind us? look what it has done for us? integration into world economies makes English a must but the world economic mecca is rapidly shifting from the US and UK and its allies to a NEW ASIAN EPICENTER which includes China as the nucleus and India as a major sattelite....luck for us we understand 80% of the indian language since their language is mixed with OURS THANKS TO THE MUGHALS, but Chinese is also a must!. People also talked about figuring out who are real allies are. well to them I only have 2 wrods, watch USA, a true fairweather freind only, China on the other hand has tons to show for its UN CONDITIONAL support to Pakistan and we thank them dearly for it, Long live this freindship and I am proud that ZAB made such a far reacing and visionary decision to ALLIGN Pakistan with China after the 1971 tragedy, as he said "NEVER AGAIN SHALL WE COME UP SHORT" this is it. China is a true freind not only in deed but in need UNLIKE the West. RIght decision and I have to say despite not being a fan of MR Zardari I DO AGREE with this one 100%. Hope Punjab follows as quickly as posisble along with KP and teh Baloch!
Maria | 10 years ago | Reply

More natural and logical step would have been to make the Sindhi language compulsory in Sindh first, and then any other language. This would have created harmony and attachment with the soil amongst the diverse population of the hospitable Sindh.

The same PPP government has rejected Sindhi as a national language of Sindh. Even they could not implement learning Sindhi as compulsory to work and get education in Sindh.

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