New Zealand Principals’ Delegation has Visited China
Principals at Confucius Institute International Headquarters
The NZ South Island Principals’ Delegation to China has completed its eleven days’ tour and returned to New Zealand on 13 April. The principals’ delegation consisted of principals and deputy principals from ten primary and secondary schools from around the South Island and the tour was organised by CIUC.
During their stay in China, the principals visited Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai, experiencing the extensive Chinese history and culture, as well as the rapid development of Chinese economy.
The delegation explored some famous historical sites during the first three days in Beijing. For most of the principals, this was their first experience of China. They were deeply impressed by the scope and grandeur of the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The delegation also visited New Zealand Embassy in Beijing and the Headquarters of the Confucius Institute, which was the sponsor for the delegation’s trip. The delegation expressed their sincere thanks to the Headquarters of the Confucius Institute as well as CIUC for organising this significant trip as well as offering support to their students at home for their study of the Chinese language and culture.
At the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing, the ambassador John McKinnon and his colleagues warmly welcomed the delegation. The ambassador and the principals exchanged their thoughts about the importance of New Zealand-China ties, and the Chinese programmes in the schools of the South Island. The ambassador said that for New Zealand students, learning Mandarin is an investment for the future, which will bring more job opportunities in times of need.
After a short stay in Beijing, the principals visited Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and the primary school and middle school affiliated to HUST. The principals had the opportunity to talk face to face with students and staff in these schools and learned a significant amount about the Chinese fundamental education system. During the trip, members of the delegation were given the opportunity to appreciate not only China’s significant achievements but also the challenges that presently confront China, some of which are particularly relevant to education practitioners in New Zealand.
After this China trip, all the principals said that China is very different from what they expected before they came and now they have a better understanding of China and Chinese people. Susan Jennison from Westburn School in Christchurch remarked, “Although I thought that the tour would be wonderful I had no idea how amazing it would be. China exceeded my expectations in every possible way.” All of the delegates agreed that the trip to China was truly memorable. They returned to New Zealand with a commitment to ensure that Chinese be taught in their schools and they all expected that there would be greater cooperation in the future between the Chinese and NZ schools.