China-initiated One Belt, One Road Initiative opens new path for Confucius Institutes, said Vice-Minister of Education Ministry Hao Ping on Dec 11. There were 134 Confucius Institutes in 51 countries along the route teaching 460,000 students in 2016, Hao added. The government plans to establish the institutes in nine more countries in 2017.
“In the future, we will improve the layout of the institutes and strive to establish them in all countries along the route,” said Hao.
“Development of ‘One Belt, One Road’ offers both opportunities and challenges to the institutes. We need more and better training for our teachers and targeted teaching,” said Zhu Chongshi, headmaster of Xiamen University.
“The institutes have taken root in indigenous culture and carry out teachings and activities in accordance with local conditions, hence becoming popular and consolidating public trust along the route. ‘One Belt, One Road’ promotes the international education cooperation and exchange at a higher level. We will double our efforts to develop bilingual talents, research-oriented professionals and vocational training personnel,” Hao said.
Former Belarus vice-premier Anatoli Tozik, headmaster of Université d’Artois Pasquale Mammone and deputy head of Suez Canal University Atef Mohamed Mohamed Aly all agreed that the institutes are not only a great platform for local staff working for Chinese enterprises, as they provide language and technical training, but also play the role of think tank by offering information and consulting services.