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China: Universities overseas help draw up plans for expansion

Confucius InstitutesConfucius Institutes worldwide are starting to think long-term, with 325 of them already having their own development plans.

On Monday, at the Seventh Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing, more than 300 university presidents took part in a seminar to discuss drawing up such plans for Confucius Institutes globally. That followed a meeting in 2011 at which the Confucius Institute Headquarters discussed its development plan.

“During the meeting in 2011, we gave some suggestions on the development plan, which included goals to achieve, key projects and some concrete measures. Then we extended some specific terms in the plan, and figured out detailed goals for 2020,” said Jing Wei, deputy chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

The headquarters published its 2012-20 development plan earlier this year, and encouraged Confucius Institutes to submit their own such plans.

“We are aware that some countries, such as the US and UK, usually prefer carrying out projects to specific plans, while other countries, such as Russia and Japan, use plans to design their future development.

“I believe the plans can help us in at least three ways: to build consensus, to mobilize resources, and to seek more support from the government,” Jing said.

Confucius Institutes’ development plans differ in line with local situations.

Pietro Tonutti, representative of the president and head of the international affairs office of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, one of three public universities in Pisa, Italy, said: “The Confucius Institute has established its own plan according to our own special characteristics.

“In the case of the Confucius Institute in Pisa, it provides some useful information in this respect,” he added.

The Confucius Institute in Pisa was established in 2008, and has developed a network with local schools and universities. It has published a three-year plan, including Chinese teaching programs, to improve the quality of teaching and learning in middle schools.

The case of Minsk State Linguistic University in Belarus is different.

With only one year’s development, the goal of the Confucius Institute there is to have eight teaching spots and open one Chinese undergraduate course by 2015, according to Larysa Tryhubava, director of the university’s Confucius Institute.

“Teacher training is one priority,” Tryhubava said, adding that last year the Confucius Institute designed lessons for teachers, which have been welcomed by all faculties. The Confucius Institute’s 2015 goal is to have 16 full-time and part-time teachers and volunteers. (China Daily)

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