About 20,000 ethnic minority students each year are
attending preparatory courses in Mandarin in more than 100 Chinese
universities, according to the State Ethnic Affairs Commission
Ethnic minority students in China can choose one-year
or two-year preparatory courses where they can raise their level of
Chinese before entering the first year of university.
The Chinese government has granted several favorable
policies to the country's ethnic minority students, such as easier
access to higher education, said the SEAC.
Wurihan, a 26-year-old girl of Mongolian ethnic
origin, had 20 marks added to her college entrance exam results
when she attended the exam eight years ago, because the university
course she had applied for was taught in Mandarin.
"The competition is fierce so the added marks were a
huge relief," she said. Wurihan said she could use Mandarin at a
high level but still felt nervous when competing with Han students
because Mandarin was her second language.
She said her college entrance exam papers were in
Mongolian, which were directly translated from the Han language
paper by educational departments, except the "Mongolian literature"
exam which was only attended by Mongolian students.
The SEAC source said ethnic colleges attached to the
SEAC had created special university courses to help train talented
students from 22 ethnic minorities, each with a population of below
100,000,including the Ewenki, Oroqen, Daur, Maonan, Sala, Bulang
China has 55 ethnic
minorities which accounts for only 8.4 percent of the total
population. Most of the ethnic groups live in impoverished western
regions and border areas in 10 provinces or autonomous regions such
as southwestern Yunnan, Guizhou, northwestern Xinjiang and northern
The SEAC said the government was preventing small
minority groups by recording their threatened languages and
conducting bilingual school education to protect and rescue their
"Culture is the soul, the root and the essence of a
people," said Dainzhub Ongboin, vice director of the SEAC, at a
press conference in March.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2007)