21 new Confucius classrooms
Extra funding to promote language learning for primary school pupils.
Scotland is to benefit from a further 21 Confucius Classrooms to teach primary pupils Mandarin and boost their language skills.
Confucius Classrooms support Scotland’s 1+2 languages policy, which aims to allow every child the opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue by 2020.
Currently over 200 schools and 20,000 school children across Scotland learn about China and it’s language. Included in this are those who learn through the 14 Confucius Classrooms which are already established across 18 Scottish local authorities– these learning opportunities will be expanded to primary schools for the first time.
The Hanban, which promotes Chinese language and learning, will provide additional funding to extend the programme. They will also offer Local Authorities help to partially fund an extra six Mandarin teaching posts across Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement in Beijing while meeting 80 Scottish school pupils benefiting from a summer learning exchange programme in China.
The First Minister said:
“We want our young people to be better prepared for life and work in a multi-cultural, global marketplace and Mandarin is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages.
“Evidence shows that early language learning improves literacy and that young children learn languages more easily.
“Extending the Confucius Classroom learning programme to primary schools will improve language learning opportunities to more Scottish pupils, in addition to the 20,000 who already benefit.
“We now have this golden opportunity to make a difference in further improving how language skills are offered and delivered to our young people.
“I am determined to give all of our young people every opportunity to improve their language and literacy skills and raise attainment for every child in Scotland.”
Fhiona Fisher, Director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) said:
"I am delighted to have been invited to host this event in Beijing. The First Minister’s presence underlines the importance of the work we do in CISS to promote understanding and awareness of China - the world’s most populous nation and one of its fastest-growing economies.
“Hearing a language used by native speakers, in a country where it is the national language, is a valuable way of developing linguistic skills. The participating pupils will benefit greatly from the immersion course, not only in enhancing their understanding of Mandarin but also in the opportunity they will have to gain insight into Chinese culture.
“China is one of Strathclyde’s most significant overseas markets. Our role at Confucius is in keeping with the University’s international ethos and is designed to cultivate knowledge of China in prospective future students.”
On 6 June 2012 an agreement between the Hanban/Confucius Institute headquarters and Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at the University of Strathclyde was signed, establishing the new Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) in partnership with Tianjin Education Commission.
There are currently 14 Confucius Classroom Hubs, 13 in LA secondary schools and one in St George’s Independent School.
There are currently 15 GTCS qualified Mandarin teachers working in Scotland. Local Authorities will now be able to bid for the additional funding, which will cover 50 per cent of the cost of six posts. It will be for Local Authorities to decide how the funding is allocated.
Since 2013 the Scottish Government have provided local authorities with an additional £9 million in funding, with a further £7.2 announced during 2015/16, to implement the 1+2 languages policy.