There is a bright future and vast scope for the development of Chinese education in Ireland. Since the inception of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland in 2006, with support from the Hanban Headquarters, the efforts made by the UCD CII have resulted in over a hundred secondary schools launching Chinese courses, with about 5000 secondary school students studying Chinese.
With the promotion of Chinese in Irish secondary schools, the demand for Irish Chinese teachers also increases. On 3rd May 2012, the “Teaching Pack on Chinese Culture and Language for Transition Year” was launched. At the launch, organised by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D. announced that from 2014, a short course of 100 hours in Chinese language and culture would be an option in the new Junior Cycle programme and that Chinese would be included as a subject in the Leaving Certificate Examination in due course. This shows Chinese language and culture as an important component of the Irish education system and symbolizes a significant milestone in the promotion of Chinese language and culture in Ireland. However, these goals also pose a great challenge to the training programme of Irish Chinese teachers.
The UCD CII is dedicated to the development of Chinese education in Ireland, and continues to increase the nationwide scale of Chinese teaching, strengthen the Chinese teachers’ abilities, and improve the quality of Chinese teaching itself. In order to cater for the growing demand of Chinese language and culture education in Irish secondary schools and deal with the shortage of Chinese teachers, the UCD CII launched training programmes for Irish teachers in 2011. These included training on Happy Chinese teaching materials, Irish Chinese teacher training in East China Normal University in Shanghai and training on the “Teaching Pack on Chinese Culture and Language for Transition Year”. Up to the end of 2013, 591 Irish teachers have attended these training programmes in the UCD CII. The training programmes launched so far have made great contributions to the promotion of Chinese culture and the sustainable development of Chinese education in Ireland.
The training programmes for Irish teachers include:
The training course on Happy Chinese teaching materials
The Training Course for Irish Chinese Teachers in Shanghai East China Normal University
The training programme on the “Teaching Pack on Chinese Culture and Language for Transition Year” for Irish Teachers
Education Programme “Master’s Degree of International Chinese Teaching ” (planned)
Regional Irish Chinese Teacher Training Centre
Launch of Chinese Teachers’ Association of Ir