Chinese, a Curricular Subject for Irish Post-Primary Schools

Then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin launching the research report Demand for Mandarin Chinese Teaching in Irish Post-Primary Schools on 25 November 2009

To develop Chinese language as a curricular subject in Irish post-primary schools, UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland carried out research including a nation-wide survey of all Irish schools (750 in total) and the teaching of Chinese language and culture as a pilot programme to five schools for three years. The project has attracted the attention of the Irish media and public and the Irish government attaches great importance to it.

Further to the successful launch of the research report, UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, under the guidance and supports of the CI Headquarters and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in Ireland, is in the process of developing Chinese language and culture as a fully recognised Transition Year curriculum unit for Irish post-primary schools. 45 hours teaching materials for the unit have been developed and produced, including on-line materials, workshops, games for both indoor and outdoor activities, face-to-face materials and DVDs. At a workshop organised by UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, teachers from over 10 representing schools provided very positive feedback.

Students enjoyed the workshop on Chinese paper-cutting

The teaching materials have been piloted by 20 selected schools in the academic year of 2010-11 and are in the process of being revised according to feedback received from Irish secondary school teachers and pupils. Based on the pilot year, the descriptor will be reviewed and finalised for formal approval by the NCCA. In the academic year 2011-12, Chinese language and culture will be officially taught in Irish post-primary schools nationally, firstly as a transition year unit but with the aim of expanding to become a full curricular subject.

Dr Hugh Brady, UCD president and Mr Liu Biwei, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, observing the Mandarin teaching offered by UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland to the girls in Loreto Secondary School (Bray)

The project has received an overwhelming positive response from Irish secondary schools and among the 20 schools who are piloting the teaching programme there are top three fee-paying schools in Ireland as well as the schools in different regions across whole the country. It is believed that the project will be a remarkable milestone in the history of Irish second-level education and in the near future Chinese will be, side by side with many European languages and Japanese, a curriculum subject for Irish pupils.

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