On December 7-8, 2014, the 9th Confucius Institute Conference was held in Xiamen, Fujian Province. With the theme “Towards a New Decade of Confucius Institute”, a total of over people attended this year’s conference, including directors of Confucius Institutes and presidents of the host universities from 126 countries and regions around the globe,
representatives of the Chinese partner universities or institutions, the education departments (commissions) of related provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities), the Chinese embassies in foreign countries and the Chinese enterprises involved in the construction of Confucius Institutes as well as envoys from some foreign embassies in China. The two-day heated discussions during the conference helped the delegates reach broad consensus on the development objectives of the Confucius Institute in the coming decade and build confidence in the future.
Opening Ceremony for the 9th Confucius Institute
Madam Liu Yandong, Vice Primer of the State Council and Chair of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, attended the opening ceremony and gave a keynote speech. She looked back the development of the previous ten years for the Confucius Institute and put forward four wishes for the next ten years. The first is to accelerate localization and promote integration and development. The second is to continuously strengthen the quality of construction and promote the development of connotation. The third is to extend the function of cultural exchanges to promote diversified development. The fourth is to innovate in ways that promote sustainable development. Liu emphasized that in facing the future we should cooperate on all fronts so as to commonly promote the development of the Confucius Institute and make contributions to a peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious world. The opening ceremony was chaired by Yuan Guiren, Minister of Education and Vice Chairman of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters.
Yang Zhijian, president of The Open University of China (OUC), attended the conference and provided his response to the question of how to closely integrate the internationalization of the OUC with the development of the Confucius Institute over the next ten years. Before the opening ceremony, Yang visited the exhibition booth of the OUC Chinese Language Centre at the International Chinese Teaching Materials Exhibition. He encouraged young people in the future to deeply understand the changes taking place in education development as brought on by modern information technology, how users and learners will be at the centre of the learning epicenter, as well as how this will provide a solid foundation for distance Chinese international education.
With a goal of promoting the localization and development of Confucius Institutes, this year the OUC Chinese Language Centre launched two mock test platforms and teaching and learning resources for developing international Chinese teachers and new HSK online practice. The courses and resources platform for international Chinese teachers （http://t.myechinese.com） has built a curricula system based on the modules of The Standard of the Capacity of International Chinese Teachers as issued by Hanban. At the present, four types of online courses with 1,029 class hours have been launched, including theory courses, practice and case lessons, general education, and specific learning lessons that offer online learning resources for international Chinese teachers to improve their own education. In order to build this platform, the Chinese Language Centre worked with experts and partners in the field to demonstrate different scenarios for teaching resource construction and the blended learning model. The new HSK online practice and mock test platform（http://hsk.myechinese.com）provides the functions and associated services of new HSK mock tests, special exercises, intellectually make papers, immediate test scores and online tutoring, as well as support the application of multi-terminals.
Vice director of the Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban Xia Jianhui attends Expo to learn about teaching products
The teaching and learning products of the OUC Language Centre are being given more and more attention in the field of Chinese international education. Deans of Confucius Institutes and the principals of both Chinese and foreign partner schools came to consult and discuss. Ma Jianfei, Wang Yongli, and Xia Jianhui, Vice Director-Generals of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, all stopped by the both one after another. They came to learn about the MyEChinese platform, course resources, teaching models, teachers training sessions, and summer camps launched with unique blended learning models. They provided high praise for the work the OUC do in the distance Chinese education field and pointed out that distance education is a growing trend and the needs of students and learners must be met. They hope the OUC will continue to make large contributions to the Confucius Institutes over the next ten years.
Through the present there are 475 Confucius Institutes and 851 Confucius classrooms in primary and middle schools in 126 countries with registered members numbering at 3.45 million. The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University, which was set up by the OUC and Michigan State University, is a leader in the field and has launched distance Chinese teaching with special characteristics.
Delegates learn about OUC products
By Wang Li and Tan Lu, the OUC