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Promoting Mandarin Learning Opportunities for Schoolchildren in the UK at the Hua Hsia Mandarin Speaking Competition

Hua Hsia Chinese School holds a Chinese Speaking Competition each year in north London to enable schoolchildren studying Mandarin to gain confidence in their language skills and to showcase their progress in a fun and interactive setting. Mr Ouyang Yen-Heng, the Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the United Kingdom, spoke at this year’s opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon, October 26, 2014.

Mr. Ouyang first thanked the organisers for inviting him to witness the linguistic talent evident amongst the competitors, and praised everyone present for their enthusiasm fot learning Chinese and the spirit of friendly competition. Being able to speak Mandarin knowledge is a huge asset in the modern world and he expressed his hope that the young students participating in the competition would one day have the opportunity to visit Taiwan and benefit from the vibrant learning environment there and take advantage of Taiwan’s rich culture, diverse landscape, liberal society and high quality of living.

Taiwan is widely recognised for the quality of its educational institutions, its teaching of Chinese and its celebration of scholarly attainment, and Mr. Ouyang took this opportunity to tell those present about the variety of study abroad opportunities available to young school students, in particular, the summer camps offered by top universities in Taiwan. These summer camps have been designed to create an unforgettable Chinese immersion experience for young people of all nationalities and they incorporate language classes tailored specifically for children alongside a range of enjoyable cultural activities.

People at the Hua Hsia Mandarin Speaking Competition were very interested to learn about the Children’s Chinese Competency Certification (CCCC), a range of tests at different levels for children, similar to the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) which is now regularly taken by adult learners of Chinese. As Mr Ouyang explained, the CCCC helps children, parents and teachers have an accurate understanding of the level of Chinese proficiency that children have achieved, and this is a great help to teachers who can adapt their teaching style accordingly. It also serves to boost young learners’enthusiasm for the subject and motivation to improve.

Mr. Ouyang also gave parents and teachers a brief outline of the many language scholarships, research grants, social activities, and Taiwan-related events administered and promoted by the Education Division within the UK.