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Wednesday, September 03 2014 @ 12:34 AM EDT

Panama discusses compulsory Mandarin in schools

Schools & Education The Straits Times - PANAMA CITY - LEARNING Mandarin could soon be compulsory for schoolchildren in Panama to ready the Spanish-speaking nation for China's growing importance as a trading partner. Panama's National Assembly will next week debate a bill to make Mandarin Chinese lessons obligatory in all government-run primary schools in the trade-dependent canal nation. Mandarin is the official language of both China and Taiwan. Panama has no diplomatic relations with Beijing but China has major interests in its transport and shipping sectors. Arturo Arauz, who drafted the proposal, said it would help prepare Panama for a 'new linguistic order' prompted by spectacular economic growth in China. 'We cannot ignore that a lot of our trade is with Asia,' he said. 'In 20 years time the world is going to be a very different place.' Under the proposal, children aged between 6 and 11 would learn Mandarin for a trial period of 10 years. English would continue to be taught in schools as a second language. China is the main user of the Panama Canal, and the Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd controls Panama's two largest ports - Balboa on the Pacific coast and Manzanillo on the Caribbean. Panama has a sizable Chinese community, founded more than 100 years ago by immigrants who arrived to help build the Panama Canal, but many speak Cantonese Chinese rather than Mandarin. -- REUTERS
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Panama discusses compulsory Mandarin in schools
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, October 12 2007 @ 08:35 AM EDT
This is the same BS we got in the 80s about the Japanese taking over the world. I believe what should be compulsory is the learning of at least one more language besides English, but there should be a choice.