Confucius Institute regrets NSW scrapping of Chinese language program

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/23 22:53:40

A Chinese Peking Opera artist (left) performs with a foreign student at the opening gala of the 13th Confucius Institute Conference on Tuesday in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. University chancellors and headmasters from 150 countries and regions, together with nearly 1,500 Confucius institute delegates attended the event. Photo: VCG

The Confucius Institute said it deeply regrets that the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education in Australia on Thursday unilaterally scrapped the Chinese language program over foreign influence fears and urged the NSW side to evaluate the role of the Confucius Institute objectively and rationally.

The NSW education department should deliberate on the negative influence this could bring to educational cooperation between the two sides, and the Confucius Institute reserves the rights to make further measures to protect the institute's legal rights, the institute said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Friday.

The institute's program in NSW, established jointly by the Jiangsu education department and NSW education department in 2012, has offered Chinese language education to 18,000 primary and middle school students in 13 public schools in NSW.  The program gained wide support from the local government as well as teachers and students, the institute said. 

The institute denied it was a "foreign agent" as described by some media outlets, as its cooperation agreement with the NSW education department was extended to 2022. The evaluation of the program conducted by the NSW education department in 2018 showed that the Chinese language program in 13 schools was satisfactory. 

The report by the NSW department said no evidence of "actual political influence" was found in the Confucius Institute.

The report suggested the NSW education department renegotiate the cooperation agreement, and said that termination of the cooperation will reduce Chinese language and cultural activities that local students can participate in, and lose the opportunity for local schools to engage with native Chinese language teaching assistants. 

Global Times

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