Enrolment in the Chinese language department at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) in Pakistan has risen exponentially, a media report said on Monday.

When it was first formed in September 1970, there were about 13 students who took the course. However, this year the programme has about 460 students eager to learn the Chinese language.

Rasheeda Mustafa, who has been teaching Mandarin at NUML for the past 19 years, was quoted by Dawn news as saying: “Thousands of students have learnt Mandarin [at NUML] and have gone on to pursue professional roles in different fields.”

To match this increasing demand, the Chinese government had also given grants for the expansion of the Confucius Institute at NUML back in 2015, Dawn News reported.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a big factor for the increase in the number of students, Rasheeda said.

According to her, the students can see the tides changing and expect that knowing Chinese would mean more job opportunities, in Pakistan and in China.

There are at least four operational institutes teaching the language — one each in Islamabad (NUML), Faisalabad (Agriculture University), Lahore (Punjab University) and Karachi (University of Karachi).