2019-11-25 12:03, James Zhao
A delegation of 7 Irish secondary school principals finished a successful China trip on November 3. Organised jointly by UCD CII, Renmin University of China and China’s Hanban, the delegation visited 4 top secondary schools in Beijing and met with their teachers and students– High School Affiliated to Renmin University and its Chaoyang Branch, High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University and Beijing 101 Middle School. The principals also visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Renmin University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Museum. They had a swift tour of such famous places of interest as the Palace Museum, Great Wall and Summer Palace. The visit to Tiananmen Square coincided with the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The festivity on the Square left the principals with a great impression of China’s social improvement, prosperity and peace.
The principals first visited the High School Affiliated to Renmin University on October 28. After a tour of the campus they met with Deputy Principal Yi Feng, Director of the Technology Centre Wen Li, Deputy Director of the Curriculum Development Centre Zhaojie Cheng, Foreign Affairs Office staff Xiaoqi Yao. The meeting was focused on management of international students and teachers, teaching staff quality development, and issues challenging Chinese and international secondary schools. The visitors were invited to sit at an English class discussing environmental protection. The principals were very impressed with the students’ English level.
During their visit to the High School Affiliated to Renmin University Chaoyang Branch on October 29, they met with Principal Honglin Guo and Deputy Principal Qiwei Shen, who introduced the school’s ethos and history. Director of the senior cycle Feifei Zheng and teacher representatives also attended the meeting. The visitors then sat at a psychology and English class meeting the British A-Level standard and talked with the teachers and students. The principals gained a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the Irish and Chinese secondary education system.
During their visit to the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University the next day, the principals sat at a Chinese traditional music instruments class, music class, 3D printing class and looked on as the students did their sports exercise during the break. Principal Liping Wang and Director of the International Office Lan Xu introduced the school history and well known alumni. The principals gained a better understanding of the difference between Irish and Chinese secondary education and agreed that the Chinese secondary education is innovative and impressive.
The famous Beijing 101 Middle School, located beside the Old Summer Palace Yuanming Yuan received the principals on October 31. They were the first Irish visitors the school welcomed and this coincided with a series of celebrations of the 40th anniversary of China-Ireland relations organised by the school and backed by UCD CII. Vice Party Secretary Tiejun Li, Deputy Principal for international education Li Cheng, Deputy Director for international education Lei Cai and teacher representative Jinghui Wang met the visitors who were highly impressed with the school’s beautiful campus, neat student dormitories and modern ice rink.
The delegates visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters on December 1 and participated in various Chinese culture experience activities, such as papercutting, calligraphy and ancient music, all presented with modern technology. The principals were enchanted with the charm of Chinese culture. At the exhibition of Chinese teaching materials, they were equally impressed with the effort made by the Confucius Institute Headquarters in developing Chinese teaching resources and books as well as promoting Chinese language and their achievement. The principals also enjoyed a visit to Renmin University and through meetings they learned more about the establishment and teaching resources of Confucius Institutes worldwide.
The China trip helped the principals gain a first-hand understanding of the high standard of China’s educational development, secondary education in particular. They said they will increase their communication with UCD CII, try to provide a Chinese language and culture learning platform for their students, a way to prepare them for future career development opportunities.