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Are Chinese-English bilingual schools the future of primary education?

The London Telegraph – Guy Kelly

“In 2013 David Cameron said that, “by the time children born today leave school China is set to be the world’s largest economy. It’s time to look beyond the traditional focus on French and German and get many more children learning Mandarin.” Two years later, on a schmoozing tour of Beijing, then Chancellor George Osborne announced a £10m investment to ensure 5,000 British students were learning Mandarin by 2020. Osborne’s goal is noble, but uptake remains slow. In 2015 just over 3,000 students sat a Mandarin GCSE, compared to more than 150,000 French exams and 50,000 plumping for German. Following the opening of Hatching Dragons, a Chinese-language nursery across town in Barbican, the philosophy of Kensington Wade is that children need to be started in Mandarin far earlier than GCSE level. “The best way of learning any language is by immersion from very young, and for a very difficult language like Chinese, that’s especially important,” says Professor Hugo De Burgh, Kensington Wade’s chairman and founder, who named the school after Sir Thomas Wade, who wrote the first Chinese-English textbook in the 1860s.”(more)

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