Chinese influence in Darwin school ‘not a concern’ for NT Government

The Northern Territory Government is unconcerned about Chinese Government control over a language and culture course at a Darwin School, the NT Education Minister says.
Chinese Government agency the Confucius Institute opened its first language and culture course in the Northern Territory at Woodroffe Primary School on Wednesday.
“The [Confucius] classroom funding comes from a variety of sources but the Chinese Government is supporting the funding of the teacher, the NT Government covers things like health insurance and their life in the Northern Territory [accommodation],” NT Education Minister Eva Lawler said.
Confucius classrooms are administered by Confucius Institutes which are mainly based in international universities including the Top End’s Charles Darwin University.
The institutes are promoted as non-profit educational organisations affiliated with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education.
There are 500 Confucius Institutes in 140 countries, but since 2010 nine universities have decided to shut their institutions down for their links to Beijing.
In Australia, 14 institutes have been established at universities and 67 schools around the country have introduced Confucius classrooms like the one at Woodroffe Primary School.
“This is about a sister relationship with China, it’s about us working with the Chinese Government,” Ms Lawler said.
At Woodroffe Primary School, the lessons will be integrated into the curriculum and about 430 students will participate in the classes.
“We’re expecting the Confucius classroom to open towards the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” the school’s principal Sharon Reeves said.
“The next process is that we’ll work with the Confucius Institute and advertise for two teachers in China and when they’ve been selected they’ll come to live in Darwin.
“The [Chinese] teachers will be teaching … in partnership with the teachers at Woodroofe Primary School.”
When asked if the Minister was concerned about commentary that the institutes were an exercise of the Chinese Government’s soft power internationally, she said she was not.
“I’m not concerned about that, it is about our students at Woodroffe Primary School getting those opportunities to learn Chinese language,” Ms Lawler said.
“In other schools they’ll learn other languages but it is an opportunity for these students to learn Chinese.”
http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-28/nt-govt-unconcerned-about-chinese-influence-in-darwin-school/8660222?pfmredir=sm

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