Saturday, February 16, 2008

When the West Meets the East

Last week National Qualifications Board AQA (The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) announced that it will launch Chinese GCSE teaching in September 2009 and Chinese GCSE exam in June 20011, subject to the approval of QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority). Mr Graham Watson, Lib Dem MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, also welcomed this initiative in promoting the Chinese language and understanding of Chinese culture. In fact, Bournemouth Chinese School has been offering Chinese and Cantonese lessons since 2000 and more than 60 students are learning Chinese every Sunday in Moordown Community Centre. A lot of them are children but there are some adults as well. A Chinese teacher told me these adults are mostly people from Hong Kong. They moved to the UK before the 1997 handover and did not really have the chance to pick up Mandarin Chinese. Now they can learn Chinese with their children in the Chinese School, which has been dedicated to cultural awareness and exchange.

The Chinese Lantern Festival Celebration tomorrow (February 17) is a good example. Although the actual date of Lantern Festival on the Chinese calendar is February 21, it is celebrated on Sunday to attract more parents and children. Around 340 school children from 5 local schools in Bournemouth are involved in the Chinese Lantern Competition, which was held for the first time last year. Hopefully there will be more events like this in the future.

Large scale festivities of different ethnic groups, including ethnic Chinese, in Bournemouth would be an interesting idea for this seaside tourist resort. According to the 2001 census for Bournemouth, the total population was 163,444, of which 'Chinese and other ethnic Chinese' was the fourth largest group after white British, other White and White Irish. Celebrations of different cultural festivals not only foster understanding of cultural diversities but also contribute positively to the image and economy of Bournemouth.

Hopefully people can see this positive change to Bournemouth in the near future.

No comments:

Google Web Definitions (by Jorge Sierra)