South West College brings Mandarin Chinese language to Omagh Academy...

South West College brings Mandarin Chinese language to Omagh Academy...
August, 2013
The provision of Mandarin Chinese language by South West College is opening routes to unprecedented global opportunities for Northern Ireland. The Hanban, China selected South West College as the North’s only Further Education College to be awarded the ‘Confucius Hub’ status. The College has thereby been able to offer magnanimous opportunities - to schools, at primary and secondary level, businesses and industry - not only for learning the Mandarin Chinese language and culture but also for accessing unrivalled career and business links.

South West College has established links in China. As a preliminary step, via the Hanban tutors, the College has been delivering Mandarin Chinese to some 187 pupils from nine schools in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone with the majority undertaking the official Mandarin Chinese YCT1 Proficiency Test. To prepare for delivery of this language, and culture, South West College staff had the privilege of attending a training course, organised and generously funded by Hanban, China, based in the East China Normal University, in the magnificent city of Shanghai.

Sonya Henderson, Head of the Modern Languages Department at Omagh Academy, one of the selected schools, commented: "We were delighted to be afforded this amazing opportunity. One of our year 8 classes has really enjoyed learning Mandarin with our dynamic teacher, Professor Cherry Cuibo. She teaches with great enthusiasm and makes learning fun!"

Mrs Henderson continued: “Having spent a very positive first year learning French, our pupils, the youngest to sit the exam, feel special and privileged to be learning, as yet, an unusual language in school. They hope that they will all pass the YCT Level 1 qualification so that their CV will look very impressive in the years to come!”

Mr Hill, the Principal of Omagh Academy, said: “We look forward to welcoming a Chinese tutor to our school for the next academic year, 2013-14, who will continue to broaden our horizons linguistically and culturally, so that our pupils become even more skilled, fulfilled and employable than ever!”

Joan Major, Lecturer, said: “This is the official language of over 1 billion people, mostly spoken in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. In terms of language and international business, leaders are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context. Now open to the West, there are hugely competitive opportunities for employment and business links and development in all areas.”

Malachy McAleer, Director of South West College, told us: “South West College is delighted to be leading the South West Confucius Hub and is grateful for the work carried out by OFMdFM and the University of Ulster to ensure Northern Ireland is at the forefront of a major International initiative.”

He continued: “It is the vision of the College to create an International dimension within its provision. Currently, South West College has strong links across four continents. The Confucius Hub is a key element of this International provision. Ultimately, the aim is to create closer economic and cultural links between Northern Ireland and China; with a resource of six Mandarin teachers across the region, local schools and Industry all benefit.”

For further information, contact South West College on 0845 603 1881 or alternatively email