• Coding can help children learn how to think out of the box, making them innovators and effective problem-solvers.

Coding can help children learn how to think out of the box, making them innovators and effective problem-solvers. (Photo : Getty Images News)

China will encourage the use of Mandarin to enable 80 percent of its citizens to speak the country's main dialect by 2020 and close the language gap between groups of people coming from different regions.

The country also aims to improve Mandarin speaking among teachers, especially those coming from ethnic minority regions.

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Chinese authorities said that they would implement a standard Mandarin speaking test that all teachers should pass, with online remote teaching methods to help teachers of different Chinese ethnic groups to learn.

Mandarin, the country's dominant dialect, is spoken by only 70 percent of the Chinese population, leaving hundreds of millions relying on other Chinese dialects. A majority of those in large cities understand Mandarin, but only 40 percent from some parts of the country are able to speak the national dialect.

The languages in China is so diverse that those from one rural village may be unable to understand residents from just two villages away.

Meanwhile, Russia had announced that it will include the Chinese language to its Basic State Exam by 2018 and into its Unified State Exam, which is the state testing across the country, in 2020, according to the director of Russia's Federal Service for the Supervision of Education and Science.

Chinese was already part of the college entrance exams for some districts like Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2015.

There are currently more than 17,000 Russian students in 123 state primary and secondary schools studying the Chinese language. Around 5,000 are from the eight to 11th grades. 

The use of Mandarin may have other benefits than national identity and ease of communication among Chinese.

A study by an international team of researchers from the University of California San Diego, published in the Developmental Science journal, showed that among children between the ages of 3 and 5, native Mandarin speakers are better than their English-speakers at processing musical pitch.

The implications go beyond having a  head-start in music as it revealed that the brain skills learned in one area affect learning in another.