The year 2010 will see 100 million foreigners learning the Chinese language, according to a prediction by the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.
"The Chinese language is gaining increasing popularity throughout the world, and there is a big shortage of qualified teachers," said an official of the office.
Xu Lin, director of the office, said the Chinese government is strengthening efforts to train professionals to teach Chinese as a foreign language.
Beijing Normal University this year recruited 47 students for a master's degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, and the country as a whole is planning to train more than 300 master's students over the next four years.
Xu said the government has launched a national exam for the Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL) certificate.
"Teachers who obtain a TCFL certificate will have opportunities to be sent to teach Chinese in a foreign country," said Xu.
Currently, more than 4,000 people are studying for a TCFL certificate.
Teachers who are qualified to teach Chinese as a foreign language should have a good grasp of the Chinese language, including phonetics, vocabulary and grammar, as well as English and Chinese culture.