Mandarin language immersion classes are becoming more popular in many districts, as Asian languages are emerging as having great importance for business of the 21st century.
Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina are the latest communities in the state to join the growing number of school districts offering Mandarin language immersion programs from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade with two charter schools set to open in 2018.
“It seems that it’s a fashion now,” said Hong Lee, chairwoman of the charter committee for Charleston’s newly approved East Light Academy. “It’s like many years ago you learned French or German. It seems if your kids don’t have a chance to learn this language, it’s kind of like you’re not very well educated or well informed.”
Mandarin Chinese is well known as a difficult language to learn for adults. Many experts agree, it is best to start to learn a complex language young. It is the most widely spoken language on earth.
Since the turn of the millennium, US public schools have added Mandarin to foreign language courses as economic ties to China have strengthened and become important. Yet, it is still rare to find immersion courses.