Train­ing in Por­tuguese em­pha­sized by Ma­cao

China Daily (USA) - - XI’S VISIT - By LI BINGCUN and KATHY ZHANG in Hong Kong Con­tact the writers at [email protected]­nadai­

The Ma­cao Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion has at­tached “un­prece­dented” im­por­tance to cul­ti­vat­ing peo­ple able to speak both Man­darin and Por­tuguese, lan­guage and cul­ture schol­ars said.

They added that the ef­forts by Ma­cao are one an­swer to the coun­try’s call for the SAR to be­come a com­mer­cial and trade co­op­er­a­tion ser­vice plat­form be­tween China and Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries.

Only 0.6 per­cent of Ma­cao res­i­dents speak Por­tuguese, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics. The to­tal pop­u­la­tion of Ma­cao is more than 650,000.

Yao Jing­ming, head of the De­part­ment of Por­tuguese at the Univer­sity of Ma­cau, said more seats and schol­ar­ships have been pro­vided for lo­cal stu­dents to study Por­tuguese.

Ma­cao’s ed­u­ca­tion and youth af­fairs bureau has launched a plan that sub­si­dizes lo­cal se­condary school grad­u­ates who pur­sue a de­gree at Catholic Univer­sity of Por­tu­gal in Lis­bon. The ef­fort aims to foster young peo­ple’s bilin­gual lan­guage com­pe­tency in dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sional fields, such as busi­ness man­age­ment, eco­nom­ics, psy­chol­ogy and bi­o­log­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing. All are taught in Por­tuguese at the univer­sity.

Glo­ria Yang Junyi, a 21-year-old UM se­nior study­ing Por­tuguese, at­tended a gov­ern­ment-funded ex­change pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Lis­bon from Fe­bru­ary to June. She re­called be­ing im­mersed in a Por­tuguese-lan­guage en­vi­ron­ment and mak­ing re­mark­able progress in her lan­guage com­pe­tency, as well as deep­en­ing her un­der­stand­ing of Por­tuguese cul­ture.

“I be­lieve the study tour will al­low me to stand out amid fierce com­pe­ti­tion in the job mar­ket,” Yang said.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to Yao, the UM ed­u­ca­tor, Chi­nese-Por­tuguese bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion is be­ing pro­moted in el­e­men­tary and se­condary schools. Be­gin­ning last year, Chi­nese-Por­tuguese bilin­gual classes were launched in two lo­cal pub­lic schools in Ma­cao, aim­ing to “give pri­or­ity to the train­ing of bilin­gual tal­ent for gov­ern­ment po­si­tions”.

The Ma­cao gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced teach­ing ma­te­ri­als com­bin­ing Chi­nese and Por­tuguese.

In ad­di­tion, Ma­cao has es­tab­lished Asia’s largest Por­tuguese teach­ing in­sti­tute — the Chi­nese-Por­tuguese Bilin­gual Teach­ing and Train­ing Cen­ter — in a bid to es­tab­lish what it said is a “ref­er­ence frame­work for Por­tuguese lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion tar­get­ing Chi­nese stu­dents”. The cen­ter first opened its doors in May last year.

“With th­ese ef­forts, the city has ex­pe­ri­enced an up­surge of in­ter­est in learn­ing Por­tuguese,” Yao said.

Look­ing for­ward, ex­perts are call­ing for more ex­change pro­grams and in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal stu­dents in Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries.

With more ex­changes and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, peo­ple from Por­tuguese-speak­ing coun­tries have be­gun to un­der­stand China and its de­vel­op­ment strate­gies, lead­ing to more in-depth and high-level col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween both sides, said Chao Peng, master’s de­gree pro­gram di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Re­search on Por­tuguese-Speak­ing Coun­tries at City Univer­sity of Ma­cau.

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