Spain: Chinese as Second Foreign Language in Education

The Spanish politician Francisco Alvarez Cascos has proposed on Tuesday a renewal of the educational system that will introduce learning Chinese together with Castilian (Spanish) and English.

Such initiatives demonstrate the growing influence of China. In Spain, recent years people have witnessed a real immersion in Chinese culture, especially in the study of language. According to the Autonomous University of Madrid, Chinese language teaching will spread across the country as a second foreign language with 5% of students in the next ten years.

The demand for language learning has led to the opening of four Confucius Institutes in Madrid, Barcelona, Granada and Valencia. According to the China Embassy, about 5,000 people study the language in Spain, 4,000 more than six years ago.

According to Pilar Rodriguez and Paula Ehrenhausen, director and coordinator of the Confucius Institute in Madrid, learning Chinese without leaving Spain would last an average of six years to get a good level of competence. But this gap does not appear to discourage students or politicians, they begin to understand the importance of China in the current scene.

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