NZ Local educators in delegation to China
THE introduction of Chinese language lessons at Gisborne schools has led to a “principals’ delegation” trip to China in April.
The delegation includes representatives from seven Gisborne schools who will visit China to get first-hand experience of Chinese culture, schools and contemporary Chinese society.
Gisborne Girls’ High School principal Jan Kumar said the 11-day trip would give them a better perspective of education in China.
“Some of the schools are hoping to establish links with schools over there for student interaction online.
“The opportunity to be part of this delegation would provide a very intense and focused exposure to Chinese language and culture, that would greatly enhance our understanding. This would in turn provide us with a greater capacity and drive to encourage our students to see the value in pursuing their study,” she said.
A symposium held by Gisborne District Council last year highlighted the importance of learning Chinese, as New Zealand’s trade with China continues to grow.
Three Mandarin language assistants (MLAs) moved to Gisborne this year to help introduce the language to schools.
Gisborne Girls’ High School shares an MLA with Lytton High School and Campion College. GGHS has 16 students in Year 9 who take a half-year course, with another group starting halfway through the year.
One of the other two MLAs is shared by Ilminster, Kaiti School and Waikirikiri and the third is shared by St Mary’s, Central and Makaraka.
“From what I have heard, all three are doing really well in all of the schools,” Ms Kumar said.
The Confucious Institute at Victoria University runs the principals’ delegation trips every year. They are described as an effective way of stimulating interest in, and commitment to, Chinese language teaching at New Zealand schools.
The trip itinerary includes visiting Tiananmen Square, the Juyongguan Great Wall and the Forbidden City. It also includes visits to many learning institutions, including schools, Xiemen University and the Ministry of Education.
Other Gisborne representatives in the delegation are Hayden Swann of Makaraka School, Andrew Hayward of Central School, Heidi Shields of Campion College, Lisa Olsen-Brown of Te Kura Reo Rua o Waikirikiri, Megan Rangiuia of Ilminster Intermediate and Megan Windybank from Kaiti School.