South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will send 119 volunteer Chinese language teachers to four southeast Asian countries next month, said a local education official Monday.
The volunteer teachers would be selected from among 182 candidates who are undergoing a month of training at the Guangxi University for Nationalities, said Yang Lin, director of the international cooperation and exchange section of the region's education department.
Most of the candidates are students from the Guangxi University who study the Chinese language or Vietnamese, Thai and other languages of southeast Asia.
They will be assigned to primary and secondary schools and kindergartens in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam in late May and teach Chinese language at those schools for a year, the official said.
Tang Mengjie, a senior majoring in Chinese at the Guangxi University, said "it would be a great honor if I were selected. I would be happy to become an emissary of language, culture and friendship."
China began in 2004 to recruit volunteers to teach Chinese overseas in an attempt to meet the global demand to learn the language. Guangxi has sent two groups of 161 Chinese language teachers to member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 2006, according to Yang.
The Guangxi region has also become a favorite choice for ASEAN students who want to study in China, he added.
Guangxi Zhuang, bordering Vietnam, is one of China's five minority autonomous regions. It has seen rapid growth in educational exchanges with ASEAN because of the China-ASEAN Expo, an annual convention and exhibition event in Nanning, capital of Guangxi.
Trade between ASEAN and China rose 14 percent to 231.12 billion U.S. dollars last year despite the global financial crisis, which made ASEAN China's fourth-largest trading partner after the European Union, the United States and Japan.
On Sunday, China unveiled a plan to establish a China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund totaling 10 billion U.S. dollars, intended for projects involving cooperation inn infrastructure construction, energy and resources, information and communications. --NANNING, April 13 (Xinhua)