The UCD Confucius Institute, with the support of the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing and the Department of Education and Skills here, has organised wide scope, multi-level, multi-faceted local teacher training projects to make Irish teachers teaching Chinese a reality.
In January 2012, two regional training centers were set up at University College Dublin and The Galway Education Centre providing multi-phase training courses. Some 253 participants have taken part in these training courses to date. By expanding these training courses, UCD Confucius Institute is working hard to address the strong demand for Chinese programmes in Irish secondary schools coupled with the severe shortage of qualified local Irish teachers of Chinese. As a direct result, there are already 52 Irish teachers independently teaching Chinese culture and language courses, 4 teachers teaching such courses semi-independently, and at least 21 teachers planning to start such courses in the 2013 -14 school year.
One of the relatively new aspects of this training has been the August 2012 UCD CII organised delegation of 28 Irish teachers who travelled to Shanghai to complete an intensive 2 week Chinese language and culture course in East China University. Due to overwhelming demand, this is being expanded this summer to take in a second class in Beijing, with over 53 teachers making the trip to China this year.
The Confucius Institute is also actively pursuing the establishment of a Master’s Degree/Diploma in International Chinese teaching in 2013 or 2014 with the UCD School of Education. The planning and implementation of this project is to provide a solid teacher base of Irish teachers who wish to acquire an international Chinese language teaching qualification with a nationally accredited degree /diploma in preparation for Chinese language and culture becoming a Junior Cycle Short Course and, later, a Leaving Certificate subject in Irish post primary schools.