AHMEDABAD: The Chinese may not have mastered the English language yet, but they are keen to learn Gujarati to boost business ties with Gujarat. Beijing University is all set to offer a two-year full-time residential program in Gujarati language for those keen to work here.
By January 2013, the university's language and culture department will roll out an extensive curriculum covering various aspects of the language. Faculty from colleges and universities of Gujarat are likely to teach the course through an open invitation and interview.
Gujarat is eyeing over 10 per cent of the total Chinese investment of $100 billion expected in India in the next five years. Also, some 30 Chinese companies have shown interest in developing a Rs 25,000 crore township in Gujarat.
Chinese officials - both central and provincial - will be the target students. Besides, students of business administration and employees of power and telecom companies are also likely to sign up.
Jagat Shah, chairman of India China Economic & Cultural Council (ICEC), Gujarat chapter, said, "Chinese believe that understanding another country's culture is key to good trade relations. In the last five years, China has been focusing on developing relations between their provinces and India.
After chief minister Narendra Modi's visit to China, they want to focus on Gujarat and Gujarati as a key to being effective here."
ICEC will help the university develop the curriculum. Apart from helping develop the course material, ICEC will assist the university in translations, headhunting for faculty, faculty exchange programmes, student exchange programmes, field visits of students to Gujarat as well as industry placements in China and India for graduating students.
Gujarati will be the second Indian language to be taught in China after Hindi. According to ICEC, some 1,000 Gujarati businessmen visit China every year.
Back home, many Gujarati businessmen, too, have enrolled themselves in Mandarin Chinese language courses. Private Chinese classes are running full batches in the state. Surat's diamantaires are mastering Chinese to acquire a share of the diamond polishing industry pie.
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