Let's celebrate China and Scotland's link

16th November 2007 at 00:00
I was more saddened than disappointed with your negative report (November 2) on the conference organised by the Scotland China Education Network.

Your reporter was surely the only person among the 300 participants who failed to experience the joy that permeated the conference throughout the day. How could she miss the unbounded enthusiasm that illuminated and enriched the 23 varied and exhilarating performances of pupils (and staff) as they sought to bridge language and culture between China and Scotland?

Was she not moved to write about, for example, the making of a ChineseGaelic animation film with pupils of Breadalbane Academy; the live on-platform Chinese lesson with young learners of St George's School; "Miss Milk is Getting Married", performed in Chinese by Merchiston Castle School; the colourful dance display by Glasgow Chinese School, and the motivating "you are never too old to learn Chinese" sparkling from the heart of the 78-year-old student of the Chinese Edinburgh Community School?

Why was there no mention of the commitment of Scottish people, schools and organisations that has impressed China that it was represented by officers of the highest ranks from Beijing and its London Embassy?

The director general of Han Ban added to the success by creating the first Confucius Classroom in Scotland in St George's School (to promote Chinese language and culture in Scotland) with a commitment to open five more. This milestone went unreported.

Your readers should know that the many Chinese (including the Hong Kong Network) who took part were thrilled with the desire of Scottish people to learn more about China's language and culture. The success of the event has not gone unnoticed in the Scottish Government and Beijing.

It is not possible to cover everything that takes place at a conference, nor would we wish to. Our report gave prominence to the First Minister's upbeat message on the importance of teaching Chinese language and culture in schools, while also airing reservations about whether trainee Chinese students would find teaching jobs. We judged these to be of more consequence than "Miss Milk is Getting Married" - Editor

Archie McGlynn, director, Hong Kong Schools, Self-evaluation Network, Wu Chung House, Queen's Road, East Wanchi, Hong Kong.

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