Is There A Confucius Institute In Your Neighborhood?
In 2004, the Chinese government decided to create institutions in countries throughout the world whose goal would be to stimulate the teaching of Chinese and educate people about the Chinese nation. In the space of four years, 271 Confucius Institutes have been established in 77 countries and regions throughout the world. About 100,000 people have taken courses at these institutions and over one million attended cultural events. The latest thrust of Confucius Institutes is on the continent of Africa. Ten of the 21 planned Confucius Institutes in 14 African nations have already opened and within a few years the remaining African nations will have their Confucius Institute.
Confucius Institutes are jointly run by Chinese colleges and local higher education institutions. The Confucius Institutes serve many functions. They offer Chinese language classes, train local teachers about Chinese history and society, and most probably, serve as an arm of Chinese economic efforts in other nations. Chinese Minister of Education Zhou Ji recently told a conference being held in Nairobi, Kenya, “We have given full support to the African side in establishing the institutes and improving teaching.” An important component of the Confucius Institute is assisting local teachers to visit Chinese universities and gain an understanding of contemporary Chinese society.
The Confucius Institutes serve an important educational function in African nations and other underdeveloped regions of the world. They provide textbooks, magazines, audio and video programs, and assist in the training of local educators in the Chinese language. There is no doubt they are part of a massive effort to make regions of the world, which lack knowledge about China, gain a favorable view of the Communist government.
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