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Sitra surveyed the need for basic education in Chinese

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There is a growing need for basic education in Chinese in the metropolitan area

In autumn 2006, a work group was established at Sitra’s initiative to conduct a survey and draw up a proposal for the introduction of basic education in Chinese in Helsinki. The work group was chaired by Head of International Affairs Eeva Penttilä from the Education Department of the City of Helsinki.

According to the survey, there is a growing need for basic education in Chinese in the metropolitan area. There are 2,000 Chinese-speaking residents and 34 Chinese citizens in the schools of the area.

The results of a questionnaire sent to employers in the area say that companies are ready to employ Chinese-speaking people. Employees moving to Finland usually take their families along. The opportunity to obtain basic education in Chinese has a positive impact on Chinese experts’ decisions on whether or not to come to Finland, and it will also help families integrate into Finnish society.

Thus basic education in Chinese is directly related to recruitment. The majority of respondents said that the availability of basic education in Chinese in the metropolitan area is important. Chinese employees usually stay in Finland for two to five years.

Basic education in Finnish and Chinese will also help Finns returning from China and Finnish-Chinese families integrate into Finnish society. Returnee families are usually multicultural and their children bilingual or multilingual. Furthermore, a Chinese school will also help children adopted from China to retain their mother tongue and cultural background.

The City of Helsinki has taken action to establish bilingual education in Finnish and Chinese in autumn 2008.

Further information

Economist Tuovi Allén, Sitra
Tel. +358 (0) 9 6189 9404

Head of International Affairs Eeva Penttilä, Education Department of the City of Helsinki
Tel. +358 (0) 9 310 82610

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