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Written Answers - Institutes of Education

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 223.  Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the role being played in the educational system here with the development of Chinese Confucius institutions; the funding streams available to universities and colleges through these institutions; if he will explain the detail, role, purpose and benefit of the Confucius institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23866/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The Confucius Institutes are an initiative of the Chinese Government, intended to promote study and awareness of Chinese language and culture worldwide. There are two such Institutes in Ireland, both based in universities: the UCC Confucius Institute and the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland. As auton[379]omous institutions, both universities have their own direct relationships with the Chinese authorities regarding funding and management of the Institutes.

I welcome and support the role played by the Confucius Institutes in promoting awareness of Chinese language and culture in Ireland, in particular the work they are doing locally and nationally with schools, through the provision of Chinese teachers and support materials. The Confucius Institutes in Cork and Dublin have been working with schools over a number of years, supporting Chinese Culture and Language learning on a school by school basis. A Transition Unit was developed by the UCD Confucius Institute based on its experience of working with Irish schools. It is designed to introduce students to both traditional and modern aspects of Chinese culture and to support students learning some of the Chinese language, integrated into the teaching of each topic.

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