Organised by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII), 8 Irish Secondary School principals paid a 7-day visit to Beijing from 27th October to 2nd November, 2013. With the aim of enhancing the principals’ understanding of Chinese culture and the Chinese secondary education system, this was the third Irish secondary school principals’ trip organised to date.
On 28th October, the delegation visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing, where they loved the interactive cultural displays. The principals enjoyed traditional Chinese art forms such as Chinese face changing, paper cutting, Chinese calligraphy, Peking opera and various Chinese musical instruments under the guidance of the officials from the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
On 30th October, the delegation visited the Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University. The principals particularly enjoyed observing the Chinese students in an English class, and had a good time chatting with the students about their studies. What followed was a hugely informative introduction to the Chinese education system given by Mr. Li Ma, Vice Principal of the high school, which prompted a lively two-way discussion on various details of both the Chinese and Irish education systems.
The principals were greeted with great warmth and enthusiasm by their Chinese hosts in each of the schools visited. On 1st November, the delegation visited the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China (RDFZ). Through the talk with the teachers from RDFZ, the principals got a deeper understanding of the difference between the two countries’ education systems and teaching methods.
Apart from the educational visits and academic seminars, the Irish principals also visited the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Lama Temple, a number of the Olympic Stadia and the 798 Art Zone in Beijing.
The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland will continue to organise these trips each year, amid the growing demand for Chinese Studies in Irish secondary schools and the need for closer partnerships and exchanges between Irish and Chinese educational institutions.