Chinese Vietnamese students to study Chinese at school: ministry

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Vietnam's education ministry said Wednesday its plan to teach Chinese at primary and secondary schools is restricted to Chinese Vietnamese students, not all students as reported earlier by several newspapers.

The Ministry of Education and Training made the announcement two days after posting the draft plan on its website for public opinion. The draft did not state which students were being targeted, leading to news reports that it intended to make the foreign language a compulsory subject for students nationwide.

In an interview with Thanh Nien, Nguyen Thi Huyen, chief of the Ministry of Education and Training's Ethnic Minority People Education Department, said the language will be an optional subject for Chinese Vietnamese students only.

It will be mainly for schools located in areas where many Chinese Vietnamese are living, she stressed.

According to the official, the ministry initiated the plan in a bid to make the study of the language official and end "unwanted shortcomings and messes" around Chinese language programs that have existed for years at several schools.

After collecting public opinions for 60 days, the draft will be submitted to the government for approval, she said.

The ministry's incomplete statistics showed that in four southern provinces where many Chinese Vietnamese people live, 34 schools are teaching Chinese as an optional subject for students of Chinese descent, Huyen said.

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