Confucius Institute in Pittsburgh welcomes vice-premier

Updated: 2015-06-21 12:15

By AMY HE in Pittsburgh (China Daily USA)

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Confucius Institute in Pittsburgh welcomes vice-premier

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong observes a class at the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon. Chen Weihua/China Daily

"The opportunities have decreased in recent years. But I think students and schools recognize that Chinese is an incredibly important language to have, and I think they recognize that China is a very important part of the world," she said.

Established in 2004 by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (known as Hanban), Confucius Institutes promote Chinese language and culture learning through teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

One of the schools that are working with CI-Pitt is the Valley School in Ligonier, an independent school for students in kindergarten through the ninth grade in Westmoreland County. Students from the school gave a performance for the vice-premier on June 20 after she toured the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Valley School is in its fourth year of participating in the language exchange with CI-Pitt, where Chinese instructors from Wuhan University teach the students the language through an immersion-style program. Students use Chinese in every day interactions beyond the time specifically designated for language instruction.

Clair Ward, head of the school, said that students study Chinese from the second to fourth grade togain cultural and language exposure.