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Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Close on the heels of its decision to drop Mandarin from its list of suggested languages under the National Education Policy, the Ministry of Education (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has decided to put several higher education institutes that offer Chinese language training under the scanner.


  • he Ministry of Human Resource Development and University Grants Commission (UGC) are in the process of reviewing the work being done by higher education institutions as part of agreements/educational arrangements with foreign institutions.
  • In particular, the Ministry is looking closely at universities that have in the past had links with the official Chinese language training department “Hanban” that runs hundreds of “Confucius Institutes” (CI) abroad.

Confucius Institutes (CIs) in other countries

  • CIs have come under scrutiny recently in Europe, the U.S. and other countries with allegations of them being used as espionage hubs.
  • India has always been discouraging the setting up of CIs, while collaborating on Chinese language training.
  • Chinese Ministry of Education plans to re-brand Hanban as an NGO called the “Centre for Chinese language education and cooperation”, in order to “disperse western misinterpretation”.

Hanban and CI

  • Hanban, also known as Confucius Institute Headquarters, is the colloquial abbreviation for the Office of Chinese Language Council International.
  • It was originally called the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.
  • According to Hanban’s official website, Hanban is “a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education” and is committed to “providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide”.
  • Hanban is most notable for the Confucius Institute program, which consists of individual institutions, or Confucius Institutes, in regions around the world, including the U.S., South Korea, Germany, Sweden, and Africa.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023