China voices concern over Aussie state's decision to end Chinese language education program

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/8/23 11:07:19

China voiced concern over a decision by Australia's New South Wales Department of Education to end a Chinese language education program jointly conducted by the two sides.

China's Consulate-General in Sydney said in a press release on Thursday evening that it is concerned over the decision and demanded for a clarification by the NSW side.

The decision came after a review ordered by the department in May last year about foreign government or organization support for language education in NSW government schools.

Though no evidence of "actual political influence" was found by the review, the department still decided to end its cooperation with the Confucius Institute at the end of the 2019 school year, which will lead to the end of Confucius Classroom program in 13 public schools across Sydney and on the mid-north coast.

Instead, the NSW Department of Education will invest 1.2 million Australian dollars each year in support of the 13 Confucius classroom schools to continue their teaching of Chinese language, according to the department.

The press release from the Consulate-General said the Confucius Institute Program was established in the spirit of mutual respect, friendly consultation, equality and reciprocity, and the relevant cooperation is open and transparent, and adheres to laws and regulations.

This program has made important contribution to enhancement of the bilateral cultural and educational exchanges, and promoting mutual understanding and friendship, which is welcomed by local residents, it said.

The Chinese side noticed that the NSW Education Department said it will continue to strengthen Chinese language education, and hoped the NSW side would take a correct view of the Confucius Institute and do something more to enhance the bilateral friendly cooperation instead of politicalizing the normal people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

The Confucius Classroom is a program under the Confucius Institute, which was established after the NSW Department of Education signed an agreement with the Confucius Institute Headquarters in 2011. The Confucius Classroom is to deliver support at a local level for Chinese language and cultural education.

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