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Hundreds of Chinese volunteers to teach Mandarin in Thailand
04 June 2007

Beijing, China: China sent more than 400 volunteers to teach Mandarin in Thailand, the largest number of volunteers since China launched its program to send volunteers abroad to teach the Chinese language, the overseas edition of People's Daily reported on Monday.

This is the fourth batch of volunteers sent to Thailand since China launched the teaching program in 2004.

Last April the Office of Chinese Language Council International (OCLCI) trained volunteers from six Chinese provinces and 700 have been selected to teach Mandarin in Thailand, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea.

On May 30, 174 volunteers arrived in the Philippines to begin their year as teachers of Mandarin.

China has sent more than 2,800 volunteers to teach Mandarin overseas and 1,500 volunteers are currently teaching Mandarin in 34 countries.

"China is planning to organize more training programs for volunteers and dispatch more Chinese language teachers overseas to meet the surging demand for Mandarin learning," Xue Hualing, director of the OCLCI's volunteer center, was quoted as saying.

According to the Ministry of Education, about 30 million people outside China are now studying Chinese. It expects the figure will hit 100 million by 2010. In China the number of foreigners studying Mandarin has grown from 36,000 ten years ago to 110,000 this year.