The establishment of a Confucius Institute at the University of The West Indies (UWI) has been welcomed by Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, who believes that it complements the current teaching of Mandarin at the Cave Hill Campus.

Minister Jones expressed this sentiment as he addressed the unveiling of a plaque last Friday to mark the facility???s establishment at the Campus.

???This adds to the journey with the Mandarin exercise here at Cave Hill, which took a little while to straighten out and I am told is functioning and working. So this is the second installment of that activity,??? he said while pointing out that he looked forward to the third installment of the Chinese presence in education when the Centre for Food Security is established at Dukes in St. Thomas.

Acknowledging that China and Barbados had collaborated on several other projects, Mr. Jones said: ???This institute lends itself to cross fertilisation of ideas, understanding diversity both in language and in all the various cultural elements that are important for people to get to know and understand each other.???

Adding that the cooperation between UWI and the China University of Law and Political Science was a good one he said a proposed visit to China by his Ministry, later this year, would see deeper linkages being forged between the two countries.

He described China as ???a major power??? in the world, not acting selfishly at all but sharing knowledge, ideas, resources and culture to other parts of the world with its over 440 Confucius institutes.

???It is not simply the architectural design that???s important but what is done. How we are able to forge greater links; how persons in Barbados and persons from China would have a deeper understanding of what it is we do and how we add to human civilisation regardless of race, colour, creed or class,??? the Education Minister declared while stating that the multilingual Barbadian would be an important citizen in the world.

The Minister also thanked the Chinese Ambassador to Barbados Wang Ke for her intervention in ensuring the doubling of scholarships to China this year and noted that Barbados had several persons who could now speak Mandarin.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador expressed the hope that ???the collaborations between China and Barbados, the Confucius Institute at Cave Hill Campus, the 4th of its kind in the countries of the Caribbean, would be built into a new platform for the enhancement of China-Barbados and China-Caribbean cultural exchanges, and benefit many students of the Campus and other Barbadian people in learning the Chinese language, understanding Chinese culture and making Chinese friends.???

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