A Confucius Institute is to be established at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus. The Institute is expected to strengthen educational cooperation and increase mutual understanding among the people of both nations.

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones recently met with representatives of China University of Political Science and Law, partners in the establishment of the Institute.The meeting, held at the Elsie Payne Complex, was also attended by Permanent Secretary, Cecile Humphrey and Chief Education Officer, Laurie King. Chinese Ambassador, Wang Ke accompanied the visiting delegation.

Expressing pleasure at the visit, Minister Jones thanked China for its continued interest in the development of bilateral links in the field of education, and said: ???We, in Barbados, try to pay a lot of attention to education, for it is one of the leading social indicators for the country.??? Opining that it was the same for China, whose students are ???truly phenomenal???, he stressed that the facility would allow for ???an opportunity to look at the mutual cultures and philosophies and examine what it is that we both do to advance humanity???.

The Minister told the delegation that the Barbados/China relationship was highly valued. He took the opportunity to thank the Chinese Government for agreeing to increase the number of scholarships offered to Barbadians from four to eight. The Minister said: ???We believe that we can help influence the world???s direction, even as a small community and society???some of the same philosophies and interests obviously come through in relation to our two countries.???

Ambassador Wang Ke expressed gratitude to Minister Jones for providing ???a platform for interaction and communication??? between Ministry personnel and the Chinese delegation. She noted that the group???s purpose was to discuss in detail, the next steps for setting up the institute including discussions with key persons such as UWI???s Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Meanwhile, Professor Lan Xu, in providing an overview of the China University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that Barbados stood to benefit greatly from its faculties??? strength and experience. She expressed the intention to appoint a strong team that would build relationships in the areas of Law and Political Science, Culture and Chinese languages. ???We will be sending the best faculty colleagues to the future Confucius Institute at the UWI, Cave Hill,??? she stated.

She also pointed out that there would be opportunities for student exchanges and an academic conference. ???If we have a Confucius Institute here, we will find the other resources for academic success. We can share our experiences and our work???With your help and with the strong support of your Government, we think we can have a successful future,??? Professor Lan Xu assured the Minister and his team.

Confucius Institutes are non-profit public institutions aligned with the Government of the People???s Republic of China that aim to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges.According to members of the delegation, this year would be China???s 10th anniversary of establishing some 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide.


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