More and more Danish schools and universities offer Chinese language courses. The number of university students enrolling at Chinese language studies has increased by 30 percent in two years.
China’s growing role in the world economy and politics reflects in the growing interest among Danish students to study the Chinese language.
”There is a boom in Danish students wanting to learn Chinese. We see this development both in high schools and universities. At my university we can only accept less than half of the applicants, because the demand to study Chinese is so big,” says Stig Thøgersen, professor in Chinese studies at Aarhus University.
The number of university students enrolling in Chinese language studies has increased by 30 % in two years, according to a survey done by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. In 2010 131 students enrolled in Chinese language studies at Danish universities.
In total 540 students are studying Chinese at Danish universities in 2011.
In late 2010 the Danish government proposed to allow elementary schools to teach and hold final exams in Chinese language, which will give Chinese the same status as German and French.
Already a number of elementary schools all over Denmark teach Chinese language classes. Also 34 high schools offer Chinese language classes or Chinese area studies where parts of the classes consist of language training. Only six years ago no Danish high schools offered Chinese language classes.
According to Professor Stig Thogersen the increasing number of elementary and high schools offering Chinese classes can be explained by the growing focus on China in the recent years.
“The growing interest is caused by China’s increasing role as a global economic and political power and the fact that Danish media is increasingly focusing on China. The young people are constantly told that China is the future. Also a lot of young Danes travel to China and becomes interested in the language,” says Stig Thogersen.
The opening of the Sino-Danish University Center in Beijing in 2013 will further strengthen the academic interest in Denmark for China. The University Center is a joint project between eight Danish Universities, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Graduate University of the Chinese Acadamy of Sciences and the Chiese Acadamy of Sciences.