With Singapore’s increasingly global outlook and talent pool, there has been a growing demand for Chinese language courses. Not only is Chinese becoming the language of choice in business circles, but it is also making its way into the primary school curriculum.

With China’s economic development, more and more companies are opening up branches in Singapore to take advantage of its geographical location between China and India. This means that many Chinese-speaking expatriates have begun settling down here. There has also been an influx of foreigners in the past decade, many of whom require children to be bilingual.

This growing demand to learn basic Chinese in Singapore may benefit you if you are looking to forge a career in education. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Education, all primary schools will start offering Chinese as a subject from the 2010 school year onwards.

Last year saw a 13 percent rise in the number of Primary One students taking up the subject as a first foreign language. There was also an increase in those studying it as a second or third language to cater to the diverse needs.

The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) is one of the government bodies that have been helping to meet this demand. It runs various programs at various levels, from beginner to advanced, for students who want to learn Mandarin.

To increase the pool of teachers in Singapore, it has also started a teacher training course that aims to prepare participants for teaching Chinese as a second language (CSL).

SCCC’s approach is to provide courses that focus on the practical use of the language and to give participants hands-on training in classrooms.

Upcoming course: Mandarin as a Second Language (Teaching) Certificate Course (NT$18,000 per semester)

Course duration: Two semesters (four terms)

Entry requirements: Graduates with a minimum of three credits in Chinese or equivalent language at GCE ‘A’ Level or equivalent

Details: four-six classes per week, one term = 10 weeks. The course will be conducted in Mandarin, and all students will have to take a weekly placement test in the first week of the term and follow the class, which corresponds to their level.

Benefits of Learning basic Chinese in Singapore

* Enhance your career prospects, especially in the areas of tourism, education, and business.

* You will have the edge over others if you know Mandarin-speaking countries such as China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, or even Vietnam. As China is becoming an economic superpower with huge investments in many countries around the world, knowing Chinese can greatly enhance your chances of success.

* Mandarin is spoken by nearly a billion people, and it is the native language of half of that number. Knowing basic Chinese can be helpful when dealing with all these new markets in China and Taiwan.

*With the increasing influence of China, more international companies such as luxury brands, car manufacturers, and financial institutions are setting up their regional hub in Singapore. As a result, opportunities for you to work in the area of international trade with Chinese partners are becoming more abundant.

* Mandarin is also an official language of Singapore, and knowing basic Chinese can help resolve certain issues at the workplace or with customers who speak Mandarin.

* Singapore hosts a multitude of international organizations from the United Nations, World Trade Organization, to Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. Knowing Mandarin can help you communicate better with their staff and ensure that you are fully informed of the latest developments concerning these organizations.

In conclusion, learning basic Chinese in Singapore can be beneficial to you in the long run. Not only will it help you understand Chinese cultures and traditions better, but it would also put you ahead of other talented young people who do not know basic Mandarin. So if you are thinking of enhancing your career prospects and establishing yourself as a truly global talent, learning Mandarin might just be the best thing that you have ever done.

Also Read: Benefits of University Education in Singapore