FIVE SCHOOLS in Britian have become the first "Confucius classrooms" dedicated to promoting the study of Chinese language and culture.
Calday Grange grammar in West Kirby, Merseyside, Djanogly city academy in Nottingham, Hummersknott school and language college in Darlington, County Durham, Katharine Lady Berkeley's school in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire and Kingsford community school in Beckton, east London, have been awarded Confucius status by the Chinese Language Council (Hanban), having been identified by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.
The schools will receive pound;3,000 to promote Chinese in their region and will receive support from two Chinese recruits.
Confucius institutes are being established across the world to aid understanding of China and promote better relationships with other countries, but these will be the first based in schools.
Professor Zhang Guoyou, the vice president of humanities and social sciences at Beijing University, said: "This will contribute enormously to the development of Chinese education in secondary schools in England. It will play a significant role in promoting English youths' understanding of Chinese language and culture, the exchanges between young people of the two countries and the friendship between the two nations."
Elizabeth Reid, chief executive at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said: "This partnership is an essential practical contribution to our national need to learn about China. Through language learning, study visits to China and the contribution of Chinese teachers, we can offer young people at school a rich and engaging opportunity to find out about the largest country in the world."