For release: May 25, 2011
For press information, contact Riki Jackson, 901-678-3166
Students across Tennessee are getting a leg up on their global competition by learning
Chinese and studying China in depth, thanks to grants to seven private and public
schools from the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM).
The newest recipients of the Confucius Classroom grant from CIUM and the Office of
Chinese Language Council International (HANBAN) are Campus School and Hutchison School
in Memphis, Dyersburg Intermediate School, Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Bristol
City Schools, and Greeneville Middle School and Tusculum Elementary School in Greeneville.
In addition to the seven new locations, there are five existing Confucius Classroom
programs across Tennessee working in partnership with CIUM. The 12 Confucius Classrooms,
in conjunction with more than 30 partner schools across the state, provide an opportunity
for CIUM to teach the Chinese language and culture to students from preschool through
Confucius Classrooms receive 500 to 750 donated books on Chinese language, culture,
history, and art along with $20,000 worth of technology, start-up funds for Chinese
language and cultural programs, and a full- or part-time Chinese language teacher
if needed. Each school must be in the research, development, or implementation stage
of a Chinese language program. Applicant schools must be committed to providing a
global education for their students in multiple ways, including an emphasis on Chinese
language and Asian studies.
“More than ever, it is critical that we prepare our students for a global economy,”
said Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, director of CIUM and the Asian Studies and International
Trade Program at the U of M. “There has been a sharp increase in the world’s demand for Chinese learning as a result
of China’s exponential economic growth. The CIUM is pleased to serve as a resource
center for Chinese language and culture in Tennessee and throughout the Mid-South.
We are very proud of all of these wonderful schools and applaud their commitment to
provide a world-class, global education to their students.”
“Building upon an after-school Chinese class that included real-time interaction with
a teacher in China, and collaborating on a summer camp experience that has been replicated
throughout the city, we are delighted that we will be able to expand our cultural
experiences for our girls and offer Chinese learning programs for our families and
the broader Memphis community through opportunities in our Center for Excellence,”
said Tracey Zerwig Ford of the Hutchison School.
Dr. Susan Copeland, director and principal of Campus School, said, “It is an honor to be chosen as a Confucius Classroom. Campus School’s commitment
to diversity and excellence in teaching and learning can be further developed through
this growing and ongoing collaboration with the Confucius Institute at the University
of Memphis and the many opportunities it provides.”
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. One-fifth of the
world’s population lives in China, which has the world’s second largest economy (after
the United States). Chinese and Spanish are expected to become the two most widely
spoken languages in the United States within 10 years, surpassing English as the primary
Confucius Classrooms are non-profit educational organizations managed by local Confucius
Institutes and by HANBAN, headquartered in Beijing. There are 345 Confucius Classrooms
in 98 countries. More information on CIUM or HANBAN is available online at www.memphis.edu/cium or http://english.hanban.edu.cn.