UK’s “largest ever Chinese lesson” hosted at the Foreign Office

Pupils from across the country studying Chinese at school rubbed shoulders with China and UK government officials yesterday as part of the 2017 UK-China People-to-People dialogue.

140 secondary school pupils from 14 schools taking part in the Mandarin Excellence Programme attended the event this morning, hosted at the UK Foreign Office in London.

Delivered by the UK Department of Education, the Mandarin Excellence Programme aims to get 5,000 pupils on track towards Mandarin fluency by 2020. Students on the scheme spend eight hours per week learning Chinese including four hours in the classroom.

At yesterday’s event, the students met Chinese and UK government ministers and spoke about their progress in Mandarin classes, as well as their upcoming visit to China in July 2018 as part of the course. They also showed off their language skills in a range of Mandarin-themed games and activities.

Katharine Carruthers, Director of UCL’s Institute Of Education who have co-delivered the Chinese classes, described the event as “the country’s largest ever Chinese lesson.”

“They are participating in a prestigious national DfE programme which is considered of significant importance to both the UK and China,” she added.

The celebration took place as part of the UK-China People-to-People Dialogue, an annual event promoting UK-China collaboration on a range of issues including health, education, culture, science and innovation, tourism and sport.

(Photo credit: Philip Meech Photography)

Catherine Jessup

A languages nerd with a food obsession and lifelong music bug, Catherine can be found sifting through the archives for Chinese indie tunes and toting around culinary experiments in a fancy lunchbox. Presenter and Reporter for Panda Radio and Find Catherine on Twitter @cjessup_gbtimes

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