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Confucius Institute

24 November, 2008 17:43  EasyExpat EasyExpat

In this week’s article, the spotlight is on the Confucius Institute. With the world’s attention on China and its increasing importance in trade, more and more foreigners are trying to learn and understand the Chinese language and culture. According to estimates of the Education Ministry of China, approximately 100 million non-Chinese worldwide will learn Chinese as a foreign language by 2010. This is where the Confucius Institute steps in. As the name suggests, this non-profit public institute aims at promoting the Chinese language and culture across the world.

History and growth

The Confucius Institute is headquartered in Beijing and comes under the control of the Office of Chinese Language Council International. The first pilot institute was established in June 2004 in Uzbekistan but has rapidly spread across the world and is now present in the United States, various countries across Europe, Australia and Asia. As of July 2008, there were 262 Confucius Institutes in 75 countries and plans are in place to set up another 500 Institutes worldwide.

Key Programs

Key programs offered by the Confucius Institute include:

  • Multimedia and web-based Chinese training
  • Professional training for university, secondary and elementary school Chinese teachers
  • HSK tests and examination for certificate of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
  • Various Chinese language programs including corporate programs, preparation course for study in China, pre-examination training for HSK and other Chinese tests and Chinese for special purposes like translation, tourism, business, finance or Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Chinese degree courses integrated with those in Chinese universities and institutes
  • Promoting Chinese teaching materials and recommending Chinese teachers
  • Co-developing practical Chinese teaching materials tailored for local regions
  • Academic activities and Chinese competition

The Institute also provides consulting services about study options in China and for the movie lovers, there is a regular screening of Chinese movies and TV programs.

Trends

In keeping with the times, the Michigan State University Confucius Institute has created an educational island for Chinese learners in Second Life. This adds a fun and dynamic approach to learning.

Criticism

Unlike most of the other cultural and language institutes, the Confucius Institute usually operates within universities and exercises certain influence over the courses taught at those institutions. This has come under much criticism as critics are worried that it may jeopardize the integrity of those institutions.

In conclusion, the institution is rapidly growing as is the need and desire to learn the Chinese language. If you’d like to more, log onto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius_Institute


Sidd Lobo
Freelance writer

   



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