UH joins Chinese university exchange
The University of Hawaii at Manoa and Beijing Foreign Studies University are starting a faculty and student exchange program that could lead to the establishment of a training center for Chinese-language teachers nationwide, the university announced in a news release.
Beijing Foreign Studies University President Hao Ping and UH-Manoa administrators signed a memorandum of understanding last Friday to begin the exchange program. Eventually, the Center for Chinese Studies is hoping to establish a Confucius Institute at UH-Manoa for Chinese-language training.
"By all estimates, the U.S. will have a huge shortage of Chinese-language teachers by next year," said Center for Chinese Studies Director Ronald Brown. Brown said there are about 200 schools offering Chinese-language classes nationally, but 2,000 schools would like to offer Chinese instruction by 2007.
"As you can imagine," Brown said, "Chinese-language professionals are now scrambling for resources to meet the looming demand for trained, qualified Chinese-language teachers. We think we can begin to help meet that demand."
"We see this agreement as a 'gateway' that opens the way to extending our relationships with China's universities," said Neal Smatresk, UH-Manoa vice chancellor for academic affairs, in the written release.
Hao said coming to Manoa was somewhat of a "homecoming." He was a student at UH-Manoa in the early 1990s, earning a master's degree in history in 1995.
During the visit, Hao also spoke with the University of Hawaii Law School about arrangements to send as many as 100 Chinese students to the law school campus during the summer.
Beijing Foreign Studies University is regarded as one of China's most prestigious schools for the study of languages, UH-Manoa said. The school offers instruction in more 30 languages, and most of the country's diplomats and foreign-relations officials are graduates of what has been called "Chinese Georgetown."
In addition to the Chinese enrollment of 4,500 students, nearly 1,000 students from around the world study Chinese language there each year.
The UH-Manoa Center for Chinese Studies has nearly 50 faculty specializing in research and teaching about China, and is the largest in the world outside of Asia.