De Jong Commits to Expand Mandarin Language Education in B.C.

RICHMOND – Helping the next generation get ready to succeed in our changing world is why BC Liberal leadership candidate Mike de Jong said a government led by him would increase the opportunity for students to learn Mandarin in B.C. public schools. Richmond North Centre MLA Teresa Wat and representatives from the Chinese language education and business community joined de Jong at the event.

“Over my 20 plus years representing British Columbia around the world, I have seen the advantage that knowing more than one language offers. Ensuring students and families have access to second language education has to be a priority,” de Jong said. “Students who learn a second language benefit because they see an entirely new world of ideas, opportunities and careers open up for them. Our province benefits too as more and more British Columbians have the language skills to help us continue to grow our trade and cultural links with China.”

The expansion would begin with an initial program to be developed in partnership with volunteer school districts and education stakeholders. Government would consult and work with existing language training providers to ensure the program works along side existing programs. The program would be similar to what is offered by a handful of schools where some classes are taught in Mandarin, while others are taught in English.

“Any child who wants to learn to speak Mandarin should have the opportunity,” said Wat. “We need to do whatever we can to give our youth opportunities to expand their opportunities as the world evolves to diversified trade with partners like China.”

Marcia Wang, President of Chinese Language Association of B.C., said, “as China's economical power grew, Mandarin became the second most prevalent language of business after English. It is thus obvious how a Mandarin speaking person has a great advantage in the business world and in today's job market.”

"Setting our children up for success begins with quality education. Expanding Mandarin education will sharpen their competitive edge in the future, both in British Columbia and Asia Pacific," said Danny Wang, President of Canwest Taiwan Board of Trade.

De Jong said both the new program and the focus on Mandarin are first steps to helping prepare the next generation to succeed in our changing and interconnected world.

The BC Liberal party will hold a leadership convention to announce the new leader on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.

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 Backgrounder

Additional Quotes 

Nicholas Kam, Board of Director of Canadian Chinese Business Development Association

"Exposing young people to different languages encourage creativity and curiosity, both of which have an impact on development and foster relationships among diverse cultures."

William You, President of Canada-China Entrepreneurs Association

"Enhancing Mandarin language education provides B.C. students with the tools they need to ensure future success as business leaders."

Xu Hong, Chairman of Canadian West Vancouver Asian Association

"By improving language skills, people can gain access to many more opportunities.  This will make a real difference in people’s lives as it helps further their education and improve job prospects."

Amy Huang, President of North America Investment Association

“By providing the needed language training, we’re giving our youth a head start on getting a good job when they enter the workforce.”

Aaron Zhang, Secretary General of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business Alumni Association in Canada

"Possessing Mandarin language abilities will not only open doors throughout Asia, but Chinese is actually required for more jobs than any other foreign language. "

Neil Wu, President of Shenzhen United Association of Vancouver

"Foreign language skills are not only an incredible asset in obtaining a job, but may even be deemed a necessity in certain fields."