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China bolsters language and culture scheme in Scotland

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-09-21 00:29

The Confucius Institute For Scotland's Schools (also known as CISS), set up to promote China's language and culture, is extending its presence across the country with plans to open specialist classrooms and a new headquarters.

The CISS, which has been based at Glasgow's University of Strathclyde, has been elevated to a Model Confucius Institute status by Hanban, the official Chinese authority responsible for the promotion of the Chinese language overseas.

Now among the top 40 of 500 institute branches around the world, the school is moving to a new base at the university-owned Ramshorn Theatrein Glasgow following a 2-million-pounds ($2.7 million) refurbishment, which is partially funded by Hanban.

The aim is to develop the center as an accessible hub for learning and cultural exchange. The new premises are equipped with facilities to host performances, conferences and exhibitions.

Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, said the Confucius institute is growing fast in the UK and is an outstanding example of cultural exchanges.

He also commended the organization for the importance of its role in offering a window on China and for helping the Scottish people learn more about China and build a closer friendship with the country.

"Although it has been only five years since the CISS was established, huge progress has been achieved," the ambassador said. "While we are amazed by the achievements of the CISS, we must never forget the commitment and contribution of the Confucius Institute staff and the support of people from all walks of life."

Chinese language courses are now available in more than 400 schools across Scotland, Liu said. Chinese is officially a second foreign language in 86 elementary schools and 37 middle schools.

Fhiona Mackay, director of the CISS, said academics, speakers and performers will be invited from China to take part cultural, educational and entrepreneurial activities.

"Our new headquarters will act as a hub for Sino-Scottish relations in the heart of Glasgow," Mackay said.

The institute is also planning to open 10 new specialist Confucius classroom hubs, adding to an existing network in schools around Scotland and taking the total to 44.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scotland's minister for further education, higher education and science, said the classroom hubs will help to foster greater understanding and relationship between Scotland and China.

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