3 May 2015

More students expected to study Mandarin

7:57 pm on 3 May 2015

The Ministry of Education is confident it can cope with a predicted jump in the number of secondary school students wanting to study the official Chinese language, Mandarin.

A new report by the New Zealand China Council says the number of students wanting to study Mandarin could increase more than five-fold by 2021.

The Education Ministry's head of student achievement, Graham Stoop, said primary and secondary schools were working together to improve their Mandarin teaching resources.

But he said a lot more capacity-building was needed and there were also workforce issues which would need to be addressed.

Mr Stoop said the free trade agreement with China that allows 150 Mandarin assistants from China to temporarily work in New Zealand would also help.