Top political advisor urges accelerated efforts in promoting Putonghua in N China’s Inner Mongoli
Published: Apr 15, 2021 01:08 PM
Students at a class in Hohhot, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, May 7, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Students at a class in Hohhot, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, May 7, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

China's top political advisor Wang Yang urged officials to step up efforts in promoting the use of Putonghua, standard Chinese characters and state-compiled textbooks in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to help people of all ethnic groups better accept scientific and cultural knowledge to improve their chances for employment.

Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks during an inspection tour in the region which ended on Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Before the fall semester in 2020, Inner Mongolia announced new education regulations saying that students entering grade one in ethnic primary and middle schools will use state-compiled national textbooks for Chinese language and literature. And the course will be taught in Putonghua, the standard spoken and written Chinese language. 

Concerns were raised by some parents who were misled by rumors that the new regulation would phase out the Mongolian language, and that the new policy would make it harder for ethnic minority students to get into college.

The Inner Mongolia authorities refuted the rumors and explained that the use of unified textbooks of the three subjects - Chinese language and literature, ethics and law, and history - will not affect the curriculum setting of other subjects in the schools where the ethnic language is taught, and the favorable policies that students from ethnic minorities in China enjoy in the national college entrance exams. 

The teaching of the Mongolian language together with its teaching materials, and the existing bilingual education system will remain unchanged, a local authority said.

China has implemented a bilingual education system in ethnic regions, where lessons in ethnic languages are taught together with standard Chinese language with state-approved textbooks.

It has adopted two teaching models in accordance with the local needs. Ethnic students can choose to go to ethnic schools where ethnic languages are the medium of instruction, and Putonghua is a subject. Or they can attend schools with Putonghua as the medium, and the ethnic language is taught as a subject.

During his visit, Wang also called for the promotion of the preservation, innovation and integration of the cultures of all ethnic groups in order to strengthen the sense of identity within the Chinese culture. Adjusting and improving policies concerning ethnic groups should keep pace with modern times and meet local conditions.

Forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation is fundamental to realizing national rejuvenation, he noted.

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