The Central board had asked willing schools to express their interest so teachers could be trained; however, administrative difficulties are being cited.

The CBSE’s move to introduce Chinese Mandarin as an optional foreign language has evoked a feeble response from schools.

Many schools have cited administrative difficulties as the reason for not being interested in the proposal which was to have been introduced for class VI. The board, through a circular in August, had asked willing schools to express interest so that relevant training may be imparted to teachers.

This was taking into account China’s emergence in the global scenario and the increasing number of people across the world who want to learn Mandarin. The course was aimed at imparting listening, reading, writing and speaking skills, and also making students comfortable in oral and written forms.

The final outcome was to be that students were able to converse and give oral descriptions of events, retell contents of audio texts such as weather reports, interviews and public announcements and participate in a conversation. Students would also be taught to narrate a story based on its pictorial depiction with emphasis on rhythm and intonation and also respond by writing.

However, the response has been quite weak. N.R. Murali, deputy commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (Chennai Region), observed that though many students opted for German from classes six to eight in Kendriya Vidyalayas across the city, they were not going to introduce Mandarin for now. “We have to take into account that parents of our students have transferrable jobs, and hence the need for continuity,” he said. A principal of a CBSE school in Adyar said that they had refrained from introducing the option because it did not fit into the scheme of things. “We have to set aside an additional classroom and also have sufficient well-trained teachers,” she said.

What if the trained teacher decides to quit, asked Padmini Sriraman, Principal, Hindu Senior Secondary School, Adyar. “CBSE gives students a wide range of options, but not all of it is feasible to incorporate,” she observed. Some students studying in CBSE schools in metros, said school principals, are wary of learning a relatively new language keeping marks in mind, and prefer tutorials outside the school. CBSE officials were unavailable for comment.