There are now over 40 million people learning Chinese worldwide according to the Confucius Institute Headquarters, reports Xinhua Net.
Affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Confucius Institutes aim to educate people around the world about Chinese language and culture. There are currently a total of 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius Classrooms in 96 countries and regions.
The organization has seen tremendous growth in recent year. In 2001 alone, it opened 40 new Confucius Institutes and 97 Confucius Classrooms, while 360,000 students were enrolled, up by 130,000 from 2009. In addition, its teaching programs and cultural events attracted about 5 million people in 2010.
And more expansion is on the way. According to Xu Lin, the headquarters’ chief executive, 2,000 teachers and 3,000 volunteers from China are to be sent from China next year, while there are plans to train 20,000 Chinese and local teachers and revise the Standards for Teachers of Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (TCSOL).