As China is a major country on the world stage, studying China and its language can broaden children’s minds and improve their career prospects, British teachers told Xinhua on Friday.
“China is at the center of many developments. It will be important for our next generation of young people to understand Chinese culture and also be able to work in Mandarin,” said Joan Deslandes, headmaster of Kingsford Community School in east London.
She made the remarks at the awards ceremony in London’s Chinatown for the winners of the Chinese language proficiency competition – “Chinese Bridge” – for primary and secondary school students. In total, nearly 500 UK students took part in the two competitions held earlier this year online.
“But most importantly I recognize that China has a wonderful history and culture which is unknown to many young people in the UK and I felt it would broaden their minds and broaden their understanding and support their development as citizens of the world if they were to learn the language,” she said.
In 2000, Kingsford became the first school in Britain to introduce compulsory Mandarin lessons into the curriculum.
Around 140 students and teachers from 17 schools attended Friday’s event. They interspersed the award ceremony with performances including Chinese songs, traditional Chinese dances and Chinese musical instruments.
“And only a small number of them won the competition, but behind that there are many, many schools teaching Chinese, and a lot of enthusiasm for having Chinese as a language option in this country,” said Katharine Carruthers, director of the Institute of Education at UCL, the Confucius Institute for Schools.
“China plays an important role in the overall vision of the whole world. We need to equip children with all the skills, which includes linguistic and cultural understanding, to be able to stay connected as they grow up,” said Suzanne Haigh, Principal of Kensington Wade. The London-based school is the first preparatory school in Britain to offer an immersive bilingual English-Chinese education for boys and girls aged 3-11.
“From an employability perspective, knowing the Chinese language, being able to communicate effectively with people from China can only benefit young people in this country,” Deslandes said.
“In our diverse world where there are so many challenges to overcome, it is only by bringing our young people together, by learning each of these languages, by discovering each other’s culture that the important cooperation that we need between all our nations for the future success of every country on this globe can continue,” she added.
primary source: http://www.chinese.cn/page/#/pcpage/article?id=1217&page=1