Learning Mandarin Chinese as a lever in poverty alleviation


On March 3, the “Members Corridor” opened to the media before the convention of the second annual session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). CPPCC members answered questions from the media on numerous topics directly related to the education sector.

Hai Xia, CPPCC National Committee member and anchor woman at China Media Group:

In the course of my investigations and research, I found that the usage rate of Mandarin Chinese in some underprivileged areas is still relatively low, even though the nationwide usage rate was reported to have reached nearly 75%. For young people in rural areas, even a modest grasp of Mandarin can boost their prospects in life. If they have a good command of Mandarin, they will have access to cities, further education, training, and the job market: all levers that can support their own efforts to lift their own families out of poverty. The question is then, why do so many of these young people still not have a proper command of Mandarin? A key cause is lack of access to qualified Chinese language teachers.

A number of young children from remote and underprivileged areas were invited to Beijing to learn Mandarin. Initially they were extremely shy, and would stare at their feet avoiding any eye contact. However, after a few days, they managed to gain confidence and overcame their timidity to begin expressing themselves.