Dancing dragons descended on Dungannon last night as a traditional Chinese performance opened an important new South West College initiative.
The Confucius Classroom Project will give pupils in 48 schools across Tyrone and Fermanagh a chance to get to grips with Mandarin Chinese and sample the country’s culture through a series of special workshops, lessons and events.
Supported by the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster the initiative also supports SMEs to explore trading options with China.
South West College Director, Malachy McAleer, said:
"Tonight we celebrate the launch of a premier example of international collaboration, as a College we are delighted and proud to be supporting the Confucius Institute of the University of Ulster and their partnering university, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications (ZUMC)."
"As a region we are looking forward to welcoming six Chinese teachers in 2014 and I hope they enjoy their experience of our culture as much as our staff have enjoyed the experience of the Chinese culture. We thank Hanban and OFMDFM for their tireless work to achieve this milestone."
Attending the Confucius Classroom Project launch were students from Sacred Heart Omagh; St Johns Dromore; St Patricks Primary School Dungannon; Omagh Academy; Dean Maguirc Carrickmore; Erne Intregrated College Enniskillen; Cookstown Primary School; and St Patricks Academy Dungannon.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster was officially opened by China’s most senior female politician Madame Liu Yandong, in April 2012. Its aim is to develop academic, cultural, economic and social ties between the two countries.