Joel Bellassen (C), a French sinologist and president of the European Association of Chinese Teaching (EACT) , addresses the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Symposium of the EACT in Dublin, Ireland, April 12, 2019. The 2nd International Symposium of the European Association of Chinese Teaching, a two-day event organized by the EACT in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD) Confucius Institute, opened here on Friday, attracting nearly 200 delegates from more than 20 countries and regions. (Xinhua)
DUBLIN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- A two-day international symposium on Chinese teaching as a foreign language, the largest of its kind ever held in Ireland, concluded here on Saturday evening.
Nearly 200 delegates from more than 20 countries and regions including China, the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and South Korea as well as Ireland attended the meeting which was organized by the European Association of Chinese Teaching (EACT) in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD) Confucius Institute.
EACT is a France-based organization founded in January 2015 with the aim to promote the exchanges among the scholars and experts engaged in teaching Chinese as a second language from Europe and the rest of the world.
During the two-day event, delegates shared their experiences, latest achievements as well as their problems in teaching Chinese as a foreign language in their respective countries and regions in the forms of plenary sessions and panel discussions held inside the campus of UCD, the largest university in Ireland.
Irish Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Political Counselor of the Chinese embassy in Ireland Huang He, and President of EACT Joel Bellassen, also a famous French sinologist, attended the opening session of the symposium.
In her opening remarks, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, said that this is the largest gathering ever held in Ireland of people from the world who are interested in and engaged in Chinese language education.
She said that the Irish government, under its "Language Connects" strategy for foreign languages education 2017-2026, encourages Irish people to learn and use two or more foreign languages for their personal fulfillment, active citizenship and employment.
A recent survey found that French, Spanish, German and Chinese are viewed as the most important languages after English and Irish in Ireland, she said, adding that Chinese is currently provided in Irish schools by way of junior cycle short course and transition year model.
"We encourage more schools to offer these courses and to increase the uptake through our 'Language Connects' awareness-raising campaign," she said.
In her speech, the minister also reviewed the bilateral relations between Ireland and China in the area of education, which she said "are growing rapidly".
"China is the principal transnational education partner country for Ireland," she said, adding that Irish education institutes now have over 70 joint programs and three joint colleges in place with Chinese institutions.
She also said there are over 3,500 Chinese students currently studying in the Irish higher education institutions.