While economic and cultural ties between China and Canada become closer, and the scope of cooperation expands, a growing number of Canadians have been showing interest in Chinese language and culture. As the gateway between the two countries, Vancouver, already renowned for its rich Chinese-Canadian culture, has naturally become a city where more and more locals love to learn more of the Chinese language and culture.
Canada’s first Confucius Institute and since its inauguration day in February 2006, the Confucius Institute at BCIT has been working on improving Chinese language teaching within B.C., and to enhance the Chinese iBT testing system in North America, as well as to promote cultural activities in the Greater Vancouver area. We strive to help local elementary and secondary schools organize exchange activities and teachers’ qualification training. We also provide funding to local schools for Chinese teaching materials, books and other resources. In the meantime, we have developed the first multimedia Chinese teaching series for the North American education system, "Chinese Teaching Toolbox", which represents a great addition to the Chinese language education system.
As the number of Chinese learners has increased, we have also realized the importance of Chinese Proficiency certification. We have assisted Hanban’s North American Chinese Test Center in testing the Chinese iBT testing system. After two years of testing and fine-tuning, the HSK and YCT tests have been updated from the traditional paper test to an iBT system. We have kept working together with Hanban’s North American Chinese Test Center on popularizing the new system throughout North America and have opened a new chapter in the Chinese Proficiency Test.
Vancouver, consistently ranked among the world’s “most livable cities”, is chosen as their new home by immigrants from around the world. Among them are increasingly greater numbers of Chinese immigrants, who contribute to the multicultural component of Canadian culture. Concurrently, Chinese language and culture have also started to attract more attention from all ethnic groups. The Confucius Institute at BCIT established the Chinese Language and Culture Club for Chinese Learners of the Greater Vancouver area. Currently, there are over a thousand members registered. We have been sponsoring and organizing a wide variety of events for them to meet their needs to learn and appreciate Chinese language and culture. Through its activities, the club has been conducive to mutual understanding and friendly coexistence among various ethnic groups.
We at the Confucius Institute work with government, industry associations and enterprises regularly, and organize a variety of lectures based on the specific needs of local communities—for example, “How to Work with the Chinese Government and Industry Sectors”, “How to Develop Business Strategies That Work in China”, and “How to Protect Intellectual Property Rights”. We have also designed customized Mandarin courses, for a number of local large companies, that have been very well received by the attendees.
With the support from the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the assistance of local primary and secondary schools, we are delighted to see that local Chinese education has made considerable progress. In the meantime, our efforts have also been acknowledged by the local community. Looking ahead to the future, the Confucius Institute at BCIT would like to continue to work with like-minded organizations and people from all walks of life to provide quality services for learners of Chinese language and culture locally.
Chairman, The Advisory Board