A New Zealand high school is set to offer a Mandarin course for pupils aged eight to 18, and a year after a team from the University of Auckland delivered the course, the country is on track to surpass the 10 million students who have taken the test.
The new school in Milton, on the outskirts of Auckland, will open its doors to students aged eight through to 18 in the autumn.
The programme will be run by the Auckland College of Education (ACE) and it is the first to be taught in New Zeland.
The first five years of the course will be taught by students from Auckland’s Central School of Art.
The school’s director, Michael Taylor, said it was the first time in New England that an Auckland-based organisation had taken the course and the first in the country to offer it.
“The challenge is to do it with a minimum of drama and a minimum number of challenges, and also with the most accessible curriculum that you can possibly provide,” he said.
The students will learn how to take and complete the tests in Mandarin.
“We’re really focused on how we can make it accessible for students,” Mr Taylor said.
The course will start in October.
The curriculum will be tailored to the students’ level of fluency in Mandarin and include an online learning tool.
It will also have the ability to take quizzes in English, and it will be able to offer coaching sessions for those who cannot complete the course.
The class will be led by Dr Yana Breslau, a former lecturer at the Auckland Institute of Technology.
Ms Breslawa said she was excited by the project and felt confident about its prospects.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for us, and we’re excited about it,” she said.
“I think it’s really important to create opportunities for people to learn Mandarin.”
It will be the first Mandarin class in New South Wales to be offered by an accredited school in the state.
The Government has earmarked $1.2 million for the project, which will be funded through the National Language Trust.
Mr Taylor said the Auckland team would focus on teaching students to speak Mandarin in the Auckland area and to be able communicate with Chinese speakers in other parts of New Zealand.
The project is part of the Government’s efforts to boost English language learning across New Zealand, with $4.3 million earmarked for new English language classes in the next three years.