Mandarin Chinese could be taught to Moray schoolchildren if a bid to introduce the language to the local curriculum is successful.
The move comes from Moray’s head of schools and curriculum development, Laurence Findlay, who said the idea has been suggested because of China’s increasing economic value to the world.
Mr Findlay says that Mandarin could join French and German if a bid to teach the language in one classroom at one school is successful.
He said: “Youngsters would come into the based school or the teacher would go to various schools. Last Friday there was a Chinese-Scottish network day in Elphinstone Hall in Aberdeen with Aberlour nursery having 40 children and Keith Primary also there.
“Currently we have a Chinese volunteer who is teaching modern languages at Forres Academy so she can pass on the language to pupils.”
The idea was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the children and young people’s services committee, after which it was warmly welcomed by Labour’s education spokesman at Moray Council, Sean Morton.
Councillor Morton said: “I am delighted that we are seeking to have a Chinese Classroom right here in Moray.
“The chance to host one of these classrooms is incredibly exciting. I have spoken in committee about the need for our young people to learn a foreign language and as China is now an economic powerhouse it makes sense that Moray pupils have the chance to learn Mandarin.
“Other nations are equipping their young people with the skills they need to compete in the global market place and knowledge of Mandarin is highly desirable.
“I hope that we are successful and that Mandarin can become another language option in Moray alongside traditional choices like French or German.”