As a city with deep historical and cultural background in China, Tianjin shoulders an important mission in the course of establishing Confucius Institutes overseas. Up to now, Tianjin has established 13 Confucius Institutes and 3 Confucius Classrooms which has profoundly promotes the cooperation and communication between Tianjin and other countries.
In order to meet the rapid growth of the demand of Chinese language learning in other countries all around the world and help foreigners to better understand Chinese language and culture, China began to establish “Confucius Institute” overseas since 2004.
The Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms that Tianjin established overseas scatter in 14 regions of 11 countries, including the US, Japan, ROK, Poland, Colombia, Portugal, Slovakia, Thailand, Kenya, Ethiopia and France .
Although the Confucius Institute, Confucius Classrooms contracted by Tianjin government spread in different countries, they have three common missions as a whole: a center base of international Chinese learning network; a communication stage to strengthen the cooperation between Chinese and foreign education; a bridge to promote the economic and cultural exchanges between China and the world.
Tianjin Normal University cooperated with Nairobi University (Kenya) to establish the first Confucius Institute in Africa—Confucius Institute of Nairobi University, which provides Chinese classes to the students of Nairobi University, people of Kenya and communities of various fields. In 2007, the courses in Confucius Institute of Nairobi University were designed gradually to the qualifications and degree courses, and its Chinese language teaching was also listed in the Kenyan national education system. In the year 2008, there were altogether 8 Chinese language training elective courses in the Confucius Institute of Nairobi University, and the total number of enrolled students amounted to 231, among which 32 has received their certificate for single courses within the year. The Confucius Institute of Nairobi University enjoyed the reputation of “the landmark of cooperation and communication between China and Kenya.”
Since Nankai University cooperated with University of Maryland to establish a Confucius Institute in November, 2004, it has cooperated with other universities to establish Confucius Institutes, such as Aichi University in Japan, University of Andes in Colombia, University of Minho in Portugal and University of South Florida in the United States.
In 2007, Tianjin University established its first Confucius Institute in Slovak University of Technology, which symbolized the formal establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Slovakian Republic as well as in European engineering universities.
Tianjin Experimental High School undertakes the first Confucius Classroom in the world — Confucius Classroom of Daimi High School in Thailand. Since November 2006, the Experimental High Classroom has sent nearly 20 backbone teachers to Thailand to teach Chinese for short and long term and train Chinese teachers as well. They have trained nearly 3,500 students and 500 local Chinese teachers.
In order to meet the demand of international Chinese language education and the work requirement of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms overseas, Tianjin has sent more than 300 international Chinese teachers and Chinese education volunteers. They not only assume the task of international Chinese teaching, but also assume the important mission of spreading Chinese culture.
Although the average running time of overseas Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Tianjin is less than three years, they have set up nearly 100 kinds of lessons of various levels and various forms with more than 10,000 participants. At the same time, they held a variety of activities like cultural seminars, exhibitions, and national culture performances. The overseas Confucius Institutes have become an important place to learn Chinese language and culture and know contemporary China. They are widely welcomed by the local community.
There will be 500 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms all-around the world until 2010. These Confucius Institutes will make use of their advantages to develop various teaching and cultural activities as well as form their special schooling pattern.
Confucius is famous Chinese thinker, educator, politician and the founder of Confucianism. His ideology and doctrine have deep influence to later generations. Confucian doctrine began to spread to the West 400 years ago when Italian missionary translated a book called The Analects of Confucius which recorded the words and deeds of Confucius and brought it to Europe.