International teaching of Chinese lifted
China’s first college to cultivate international teachers of the Chinese language and culture was established in Shanghai on Monday.
The International Teachers College of Chinese Language and Culture was established at Shanghai-based East China Normal University, one of the first universities in the country to engage in Chinese language and culture education for overseas students.
“By leveraging the experiences and advantages in international education of Chinese language and culture, and integrating various education recourses, the new college will work as a comprehensive platform for talent cultivation and academic research for international cultural exchanges,” said Prof Tong Shijun, head of the program.
In 2008, the Institute of Global Chinese Language Teacher Education was established at the university with the support of Hanban, the overseer of Confucius Institutes. It was the first place in the country to cultivate expertise in teaching Chinese as a second language. Over the past six years, the institute has trained some 12,000 teachers in Chinese language and culture, both foreign and Chinese. More than 450 students received master’s degrees in teaching non-native speakers.
“In the future, the institute will focus on promoting the Chinese language and culture by working together with Hanban while the new college will concentrate on the training of professional teachers in Chinese language and culture. This will help meet the world’s increasing demand for better understanding China,” Tong said.
“As more and more foreigners are learning Chinese language and culture, professional teachers who have both a solid Chinese cultural background and a deep knowledge of a foreign language are urgently needed,” said Xu Lin, director-general of the office of the Chinese Language Council International and chief executive of Hanban.
“The new college will become an important base for training and dispatching such high-level talents for spreading Chinese culture around the world,” she said.
The Confucius Institute is named for the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC). As a non-profit, government-funded institution, its mission is to help foreigners better understand China and facilitate international cultural exchanges through teaching Chinese language and culture at universities globally.
Over the past decade, China has opened more than 470 Confucius Institutes in more than 120 countries and regions, with about 1 million registered students. In addition, more than 70 countries have been applying to establish new Confucius Institutes, according to Hanban.
“In the next decade, we are looking for more good ways to promote the development of the Confucius Institute in a standardized and professional way. Meanwhile, we also need a large number of high-quality teachers. In this regard, to enhance the development of international teachers of Chinese language and culture could not be more necessary and important,” Xu added.