Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Russia to Include Chinese Language in College Entrance Exam by 2020

By Asia Pop Culture

China may be the 2nd largest economy in the world, but unlike English of the U.S. which has become part of the standard school curriculum in many countries (e.g., English is a required course from the 7th grade and onwards in Taiwan), Chinese language has not yet achieved quite the same prestige yet.  All that is about to change.

Both People's Daily and Shanghaiist reported that Chinese language will be included in the Russian Unified State Exam by 2020 as a foreign language subject, said the director of the Federal Service for the Supervision of Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor).

According to People's Daily,
[Russia] plans to integrate Chinese in the final exam of the 9th grade in 2018, and to include it into the Unified State Exam for the 11th grade students to pass for entering university by 2020. 
The current plan for the integrating of Chinese language into state exams has been undergoing various tests in multiple regions and schools in Russia. Unified State Exam of Russia is a series of exams high school graduates to take for higher education and foreign language is currently an elective subject, with an available choice of English, French, German, and Spanish. 
The data from Federal Service for the Supervision of Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor) shows that as of now, Chinese language is being taught as a subject in 123 state primary and secondary schools in Russia, with a total of more than 17,000 students studying the language.

Language Difference Between China, Taiwan & Hong Kong

A lot of people asked me if Taiwan, Mainland China and Hong Kong (HK) speak the same language. Well, Mandarin Chinese is the official language in all three regions, but due to different cultural development as a result of decades of political and geographical separation, Taiwan and HK have developed their own unique idioms and phrases in both verbal and written forms that only the local understands fully.

Cantonese, which is an entirely different dialect from Mandarin Chinese, was HK's main spoken language (along with British English) until 1997 when Britain returned HK to Communist China.

Under the rule of the Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) from 1949 to 1984, Mandarin was the official spoken language in Taiwan.   Since then, Taiwan has been undergoing a deliberate grass root 'localization' process by the pro-independent PPT party and sympathizers.  As a result, the local Hokkien Taiwanese (台語), or a mixture of Hokkien Taiwanese and Mandarin (in the same sentence) is now the official and public communication protocol.

With regards to the written language, Taiwan maintains writing in the traditional style since 1949, while Mainland China has adopted a simplified Chinese writing style as part of Mao's Cultural Revolution. Hong Kong, on the other hand, has its own writing style based on Cantonese.  Today, there seems less communication barrier between Mainland and Taiwan.  While I have no problem reading both traditional and simplified Chinese from Taiwan and Mainland China, it is hard for me to read and understand a HK newspaper or magazine.

I know it sounds so complicated, but it is what it is.  Communist China has never been shy about its desire of a 'true unification' of Taiwan and force if necessary.  For now, China has one and only aircraft carrier to show off and tirelessly run between Japan, Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. We will all have to stay tuned for things to come in the three regions of Taiwan, Mainland China and Hong Kong.  

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