China’s Consular General, Mr Yumin Song, has named Launceston Uniting Church school Scotch Oakburn College as Tasmania’s only Confucius Classroom School.
The honour follows the College’s special relationship with the Chinese Government since the then Year 5 students wrote to President Xi Jingping, inviting him to Tasmania last year.
The students met President Xi on that occasion, and subsequently visited China in May as his guest, meeting First Lady Madam Peng Liyuan in Beijing.
The aim of the Confucius Classroom program is to stimulate and support innovative teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture in schools.
With Mandarin now taught from Prep onwards at Scotch Oakburn, the new status will bring further resources and opportunities to the college.
It will also provide links with other Confucius Classroom schools around the world, and further ties with Scotch Oakburn’s sister school in Beijing, the Jingshan School, which the President’s own daughter attended.
Scotch Oakburn College Principal, Andy Muller, said the new status would create on-going opportunities for his students.
“The status of Scotch Oakburn as a Confucius Classroom school marks our acceptance and official approval from the Hanban Institute, the education arm of the Chinese Government,” Mr Muller said.
“The benefits that will flow to us as a result are vitally important for our students and their learning of Mandarin and Chinese culture.
“I am also certain that many more friendships will be made that will benefit the young people of Australia and China into the future and will help bring our countries closer together in the coming years.
“The exchanges that will follow from our Confucius Classroom status will enable our students and those of the Jingshan School to build lasting relationships, as our youth provide the bridge between our two nations.’’
“Being near neighbours and extensive trading partners, it is vitally important that our two countries do indeed understand each other and can work cooperatively and respectfully. Our students’ learning of Mandarin and Chinese culture, and the opportunity to make friends across the seas is a significant step in achieving that goal.”