At the launch of the Instituto Cervantes’ annual report on the Spanish language, El español en el mundo 2012, Spain’s Exterior Minister (Secretary of State) José Manuel García-Margallo, and the Institute’s director, Víctor García de la Concha, stressed the importance of Asia (in particular, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, and India) to the growth of Spanish.
Garcia-Margallo also called the Instituto Cervantes “one the crown jewels of Spanish foreign policy.”
In addition to the U.S., the Cervantes Institute will focus its efforts on the booming Asia-Pacific region, where demand for Spanish instruction is growing fast. Cervantes is concentrating its efforts on Asia, because of proven levels of interest. In 2000, there were only 1,500 university students studying Spanish in the 90 universities that teach the language but now, there are 25,000.
Nearly 70% of applications to study Spanish are currently rejected because there are not enough Spanish teachers there to teach them. China sends students to 34 Latin American and 22 Spanish universities. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the Hispanic culture is trending, says the report, and almost every university there offers Spanish-language courses.
In Japan there are 2,000 schools that teach Spanish, and now, all high schools will be required to offer it as a foreign language.
In India, where there is the third largest education system in the world in terms of pupils, the presence of the Spanish language and culture is very recent – but represents a huge market.
Other highlights of the report include:
Spanish has become the most spoken language in the world after English – in real life as well as on social networking sites.
It is the second most used language on Twitter, after English, ahead of Portuguese and Japanese. More.