About 1,600 overseas teachers received awards from the Chinese government Tuesday for their contributions to local Chinese language education.
About 700 of them have taught Chinese for more than 20 years, according to a statement from the State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office at an international conference on Chinese language education in Beijing.
About 130 people were also awarded for their generous donations to overseas Chinese language education, the statement said.
Currently more than 60 million Chinese are living in about 200 countries and regions. Studying the Chinese language can help connect overseas Chinese with their homeland and cultural traditions, said Qiu Yuanping, director of the office.
Lack of skilled teachers has always been a major problem in promoting the Chinese language abroad, Qiu added.
Over the past three years, the Chinese government has invited about 13,000 Chinese language teachers from around 40 countries and regions to attend training courses in China and has sent 52 expert teams to 33 countries and regions to train local teachers.
In the next three years, the office plans to train another 10,000 in China and send 150 expert teams abroad, Qiu said, adding that it will also send 3,000 Chinese teachers to help overseas Chinese schools improve their teaching.
The Chinese government has also published syllabi for part-time and full-time Chinese language schools, as well as textbooks ranging from preschool to high school.
In the past three years, China has provided 13 million Chinese language textbooks for Chinese schools in more than 50 countries and regions.