SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- California is seeking new partnerships and programs with China to achieve its multi-language education goal by 2030, a state official said on Thursday.
The California Department of Education launched an initiative this year to rapidly expand the teaching of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language.
"California is the largest and most prosperous state in the United States. Almost 40 percent of the Chinese students studying in the country are in California," said Steven Ma, director of International Education Liaison under the California Department of Education.
"California has always a stance of reaching out and welcoming people," said Ma, who is also a member of University of California regents selection committee.
Last year, the office of International Education Liaison was set up with the mission of building bridges and connecting people in California with people around the world.
During the past year, Ma's office has established communications with China, Germany, Mexico and other countries.
The office has recently organized the inaugural International Education Conference, where educators from China, Mexico and Northern Ireland were invited to discuss challenges and opportunities facing each education system.
Early this month, the office signed an agreement with Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang Province, to push for teacher exchanges between California and China.
Under the agreement, both sides will work out plans to bring Chinese teachers to California and vice versa.
Ma said Chinese language is getting increasingly popular in California schools but there's a lack of Chinese teachers in the state. "Right now, we are also exploring possibility of Internet class," he said.
There's also a great demand for native English-speaking teachers in China, said Ma, who frequently travels between California and China. He founded an international school in Qingdao three years ago.
"The desire for high-quality educational resources is very strong in China," he said.
About 900 international schools are currently operating in China, but many of them face the problem of retaining long-term qualified foreign teachers, according to Ma.
"California has more than 300,000 certified teachers. There's great potential for collaboration between California and China," he said.