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Yell school joins Chinese culture programme

Primary pupils from Mid Yell JHS entertaining invited guests with a traditional Shetland song – Farewell to Yell. They are pictured with head teacher Mark Lawson (left), ambassador Liu Xiaoming and his wife Hu Pinghua. Photo: SIC

THE CHINESE ambassador to the UK was in Yell on Tuesday (1 May) to launch Shetland’s second Confucius Classroom Hub.

Mid Yell Junior High School is now part of the Confucius programme, which aims to teach Scottish youngsters about Chinese culture and Mandarin language, after Sandwick Junior High School joined in 2016,

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and his wife Hu Pinghua visited Yell alongside minister-counselor for education Wang Yongli and representatives of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.

They met councillors and staff from Shetland Islands Council, as well as Mid Yell pupils who entertained the guests with traditional Shetland music and songs – as well as Chinese songs and dance.

Music instructor Peter Wood also played a specially composed tune for the Shetland Confucius Classrooms.

Since Sandwick joined the scheme in 2016, over 1,000 pupils in Shetland have had lessons from Confucius Classroom teachers, while some senior students have taken part in the ‘pupil immersion course’ over the last two years by going on a three-week cultural trip to China.

The SIC said having a second hub will increase the funding and resources to provide more access to more pupils and schools across Shetland.

Council convenor Malcolm Bell said: “This hub will help to build relationships and a greater understanding between our young people in schools here and in China.

“Shetland has always been an outward looking community and I am sure that our young people will grasp the chance to learn more about Chinese language and culture.”

Education committee chairman George Smith added: “Mandarin Chinese is one of the most spoken languages in the world and our young people will have the chance to shape their own future as global citizens.”