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Recognising Chinese Language Day

Traditional Chinese script

As one of the six official languages of the United Nations, Chinese is recognised on 20 April every year with Chinese Language Day.

The VCAA has a long-standing commitment to the teaching of Chinese language in Victoria. Our state has four times more students enrolled in Chinese (Mandarin) languages studies than any other Australian state or territory. Chinese is currently the most widely taught language, other than English, in Victorian government schools. Victoria’s strong ties with China have strengthened our commitment to fostering an increased understanding of Chinese language and culture.

With the introduction of VCE Chinese Language, Culture and Society in 2018, Victorian senior secondary students were able to choose between five different VCE Chinese studies. In 2018 there were 3571 students enrolled in the five different VCE Chinese studies.

The new study requires students to explore contemporary Chinese culture alongside developing their Chinese language skills. The innovative course blends cultural studies in English with ongoing Chinese language development. The study provides an alternative pathway in VCE Chinese to students who have studied Chinese wholly within an Australian context.

Revised and updated study designs for Chinese Second Language and Chinese Second Language Advanced are currently being implemented in schools for Units 1 and 2. Revised study designs for Units 3 and 4 will be implemented in 2020.

‘The VCAA has endeavoured to meet the language-learning needs of students, both from a Chinese-speaking background and from a non-Chinese-speaking background,’ says Languages Curriculum Manager Maree Dellora.

‘It is evident Victorian students recognise the importance of this cross-cultural learning and are gaining an in-depth understanding of Chinese language and culture.’

The date for Chinese Language Day was selected to coincide with Gŭyŭ (rain of millet), a solar term on traditional East Asian calendars. Gŭyŭ is celebrated in honour of Cangjie, who is said to be the inventor of Chinese language characters. Legend has it that millet rained from the sky when Cangjie scripted the characters.