A Scotland-wide centre for the promotion of Chinese language and culture is to be based at the University of Strathclyde, Education Secretary Michael Russell has announced.
The Confucius Institute will offer support to schools around Scotland in their teaching of Chinese language and culture. It will initially work with 10 existing Confucius classroom hubs, plus an additional three announced today for South Lanarkshire, Falkirk and the City of Edinburgh, with the intention of expanding the network in primary and secondary schools across the country.
Its home will be the University-based SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, part of the University of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Mr Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, announced plans for the Institute at a launch event at Strathclyde’s Barony Hall, with Mme Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China; and Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde.
Mr Russell said: “The Scottish Government is delighted that the Hanban has agreed to confer on Scotland's National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University the title of Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.
“The Scottish Government takes very seriously our duty to ensure that Scottish schools prepare young people so they can flourish and succeed in the globalised, multi-lingual world. We have seen good progress in promoting Chinese language and culture in our schools and locating the Confucius Institute for Scottish Schools within the National Centre for Languages signals the importance the Scottish Government attaches to Chinese becoming part of the suite of languages schools can offer. It aligns extremely well with our commitment to help all young people learn two other languages in addition to their mother tongue.”
The proposal for the new Confucius Institute was made by the Scottish Government to Hanban, the Chinese government department for Confucius Institutes worldwide. It will join a global network of more than 350 Confucius Institutes and 500 Confucius classrooms in 101 countries and regions, all working to meet the sharp increase in demand for Chinese learning.
Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The Confucius Institute will play an essential role in strengthening Scotland’s links with China.
“As a leading international technological university, we believe it is vital for students to have an international outlook to support them throughout their careers in business, industry and the professions. The Institute will support this mission at an early stage by reaching out to schools and informing teacher education.
“We are delighted to host Scotland’s newest Confucius Institute and look forward to delivering mutual benefits for Scotland and China, as well as our other partners around the world.”
At the launch today, pupils from Lamlash Nursery – part of the city of Glasgow Confucius Classroom Hub - sang for the visitors, while pupils Ewan Forsyth and Euan Holmes from Perth High School explained what the Perth and Kinross Confucius hub meant to them. The visitors also enjoyed Scottish and Chinese music performances by pupils from St Ninian’s High School, part of the East Dunbartonshire Confucius hub, and the Harmony Chinese Music Ensemble.
The new partnership builds on the University’s long-standing research and teaching collaborations with Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Sichuan University and Wuhan University of Technology. The University has also welcomed more than 1300 students from China in the past four years alone.
6 June 2012