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Mandarin Language Teaching Program

The Mandarin Language Teaching Program, or MALTEP, aims to develop and implement Mandarin language programs for Indian students. MALTEP is a part of our effort to support the study of China in India. 

The program will place five Mandarin language instructors at top Indian universities and business schools over the next three years. These instructors will develop and implement Mandarin teaching programs for host universities in India for a period of two years. 

Our vision is to create easy access to Mandarin learning opportunities for Indian students, beginning at the undergraduate level. Mandarin learning will be integrated into the curriculum offered at host universities so students may develop the tools to understand the Chinese economic, political, and cultural context during their bachelor’s or master’s. Over the course of the next few years, we imagine a thriving community of young scholars in India with Mandarin capabilities who can help stakeholders in India best understand the complexity of Chinese systems, structures, and contemporary events.

The program will provide two years of Mandarin study to undergraduate and graduate students, the first year of which will build foundational written and verbal capacity in the language. The second is customizable – universities could offer Mandarin courses tailored to the needs of specific disciplines and industries. Such a configuration will instil both breadth and depth of Mandarin understanding, and allow students and graduates to access first-hand data and information from China.

Why Mandarin?

In the 21st century, India needs to invest in its ability to understand its neighbours in order to grow and prosper. China plays an important role in the region and we need to study China and understand its economic, political, social, and historical conditions to support and enhance continued engagement. Both India and China, with their massive populations, economies, and environmental impacts, have outsized effects on the trajectory of global affairs.  If there were a prime moment for India to invest in its ability to understand China better, this would be it.

Along this vein, India’s relationship with Taiwan – a major developed economy and global supply chain powerhouse with a sizeable GDP – is a highly important one, and spans the crucial areas of trade and investment, research, academia, and cultural affinities. Trade and investment across the sectors of information technology, telecommunications, electronics, and energy has led to trade ties amounting to $7.5 billion in 2019 – a significant increase from 2000, when trade ties amounted to $1 billion. There is, however, little understanding in India about China, and in China about India, and much scope for growth in economic and sociocultural ties between India and Taiwan.

 For any such effort to understand, compete, and grow, those undertaking it must be equipped with the ability to understand and communicate in Mandarin, among other skills. Researchers, scholars, practitioners, and other interested parties could then garner insight straight from the source, and not be limited to only English-language sources. 

Program Details

This program has received no funding from China, and does not feature or require partnerships with Chinese institutions.

1. Information for Instructors

Trained and certified instructors will be selected per the needs of the program and host universities. Instructors will receive remuneration of INR 1,50,000 per month, funded by Ashoka University. They will be provided accommodation, a workspace, and other logistical, administrative, or material teaching support by the host university. Instructors will be expected to teach on average 4 hours a day, or 20 hours a week, for the duration of the two-year program. In early stages of the program, instructors may have the opportunity to design modules for, and teach at, more than one university in the same city, pursuant to demand. Candidates may indicate a city preference; however, final decisions in that regard will depend on demand and the location of participating universities.


2. Information for Host Universities

This program will give host universities in India the opportunity to integrate Mandarin language studies into relevant academic programs and courses already on offer. They will be responsible for providing accommodation, a workspace, and other support required by the instructors for the process of teaching, and will be asked to fund roundtrip airfares for instructors. Host universities also will, in collaboration with Ashoka University, review the progress made by instructors. Host universities will have the freedom to create batches of students grouped together by proficiency level, and retain the flexibility to set differential targets and benchmarks for evaluation. Lastly, host universities will also be expected to demonstrate commitment to, and work towards, the continuity of the program in the long-term.


3. Information for Students

Undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to avail two years of Mandarin language study. While it is recommended that the university group students by proficiency, and evaluate these batches using different benchmarks, students should be proficient at the level of Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) 2 – 250 to 300 characters – at the end of one year of study. In order to be conversant in Mandarin, students will on average need to put in 10 hours a week (or 2 hours a day) of study through the program. 

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