The British Council is promoting the teaching and learning of the Chinese language and culture in Northern Ireland.

A report entitled ‘Languages for the Future’ published by the British Council, ranked Mandarin as a vital language to the UK over the next twenty years –  citing that with the increasing influence China has on the world economy, we need to prepare our young people for life in a globalised, multicultural society.  Knowledge of the Chinese language and culture among people in the UK will create a deeper mutual understanding between our communities  and give young people the opportunity to open up their horizons for the future.

The British Council creates a number of international opportunities around China, including school partnerships (Connecting Classrooms), Chinese Language Assistants, language immersion courses for pupils, and classroom materials: As an organisation, we also work together with the HSBC for a Chinese speaking competition for schools - this  annual event is an  opportunity to reward secondary pupils and bring them together with pupils from other school who are learning Mandarin.

Current opportunities in Northern Ireland include:

HSBC British Council Mandarin Speaking Competition 

How would a week in Beijing sound to your students? 

November 27th 2018 is the date for Northern Ireland’s budding Mandarin speakers to work towards. The Northern Ireland heat will take place in the MAC Belfast, with finalists going through to the UK final early in 2019, and the ultimate prize of a week in Beijing to aim for.

Open to non-native speakers of Chinese, your students can increase their motivation for learning the language and raise their confidence ahead of their oral exams. 

Last year’s Northern Ireland heat winners were pupils from Lumen Christi College, Loreto Grammar School and Rathmore Grammar.

Applications for this year's competition are now closed. Find more information here or email NI Education & Society Manager, Naomi.McAteer

N.B. Schools are liable for own travel to the Northern Ireland heat. Travel grants will be available towards flights and accommodation for finalists travelling to London


HSBC-funded Language Assistants for schools

Apply for a fully funded Chinese Language Assistant:

The British Council and HSBC are offering en grants of £3,890 to cover the costs of hosting a Chinese language assistant for the academic year of 2017/18.

This is a pilot scheme for UK schools in 2017/18 and is intended to support the Sustainable Development Goal “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” Successful schools will have the full costs of hosting a Chinese Language Assistant covered from mid-September 2017 to the end of June 2018.  

For more information and to download an application form, click here