China has announced plans to increase the rate of citizens speaking Mandarin, the country’s official language, to 80% by 2020.
The current figure of nationals who speak standard mandarin Chinese is at 70%, with millions of people speaking other languages, the government said, according to the BBC.
But there is still a huge gap between the different regions and groups of people.
The plan, issued by the Ministry of Education and State Language Commission, also aims to improve Mandarin speaking among teachers, especially those who come from ethnic minority regions.
Methods including online remote teaching will be used to help new teachers speak standard Mandarin, according to Xinhua News.
The rate of those who speak Mandarin is more than 90% in large cities, but only 40% of people in a lot of rural areas of China are able to speak the national language.
China is considered to be the most populous country in the world with more than 1.3 billion people covering an area of 3.7 million square miles.
A similar effort took place in U.S., where the China Strong Foundation aimed to increase the number of American students studying the language abroad in China to one million by by 2020, a five-fold increase, according to PBS Newshour.
The push recognizes the importance of U.S.-China relations and will help ensure a new generation of Americans to work together with China through commerce and culture.
“We’re looking at this as a lifelong effort to ensure we have leaders who understand China and can help manage what we believe is the most important bilateral relationship in the world,” Carola McGiffert, CEO of the Washington-based foundation, told PBS.