Speaking our language!

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry MLA (centre) meets representatives from South West College and partner schools which took part in accredited Chinese lessons during the summer.
Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry MLA (centre) meets representatives from South West College and partner schools which took part in accredited Chinese lessons during the summer.

A TASTE of Chinese language and culture will soon be coming to students and businesses in Cookstown after South West College was confirmed as the Confucius Classroom Hub for Tyrone and Fermanagh.

Through the arrangement, the college will work in partnership with a network of 48 schools giving every learner in Tyrone access to six Chinese teachers funded by the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster.

The link-up will see South West College roll out lessons in Mandarin Chinese and host cultural awareness programmes, events and conferences for communities and partners. The education specialist is one of only eight centres selected to promote Chinese language and culture to students across Northern Ireland and support SMEs trading with China.

Deputy Director and Head of Curriculum and Business Development Michael McAlister, said the influence that China has on the world economy is increasing and it is important that they do all we can to prepare young people for life in a globalised, multicultural society.

“The South West College Confucius Classroom Hub will benefit many pupils across the entire region, develop skills and experiences and help open up new horizons for the future,” he added.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster was officially opened by China’s most senior female politician Madame Liu Yandong, in April 2012. Its aim is to develop academic, cultural, economic and social ties between the two countries.