A More Affordable Way to Learn Chinese

PUTRAJAYA: Those who wish to learn Chinese will soon find another good and more affordable option.

The lessons will be provided by the Kong Zi Institute, a non-profit establishment, initiated by the Chinese government.

Deputy Higher Education Minis-ter Dr Hou Kok Chung said the institute would be set up in Universiti Malaya (UM) with the help of Beijing Foreign Studies University.

China’s Deputy Education Minister Hao Ping and Dr Hou will witness the signing of the memorandum of agreement at UM in Kuala Lumpur today.

“The focus will be on helping Malaysians, especially the non-Chinese, to speak Mandarin,” he said in an interview here.

There are currently 328 Confucius Institutes in 82 countries, with the first one being set up in Seoul, Korea in November 2004.

Although there are many Chinese dialects, Dr Hou said Mandarin, which is widely used all over the world, should be the first choice when one wished to learn Chinese.

He said he had Malay friends who were keen on learning Mandarin but ended up learning Hokkien instead.

by Alycia Lim, The Star