Scottish students in China

First Minister announces funding for Confucius programme.

Scottish students will get the opportunity to live and study in China through funding for the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools Scholarship Programme.

The £754,000 investment in the work of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) was announced as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met some of the current scholars in Beijing on the first day of her visit to China. She learned how the scheme has helped to build links between young people in both countries, improving language skills and widening horizons for those taking part.

Applications for the programme are open to 6th year pupils in Confucius Classroom Hubs around Scotland. So far 70 Scottish students have been awarded scholarships.

The First Minister said:

“Scotland and China have longstanding links which we want to strengthen and one of the most important ways in which we can do that is through education.

“The work of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s schools has helped to engage more of our young people in learning about the culture, history and language of China, through the growing network of Confucius Classrooms.

“It was fascinating to meet some of the current Confucius scholars – including two pupils from my former school - and hear about their experiences in China.”

CISS and Tianjin Education Commission have developed a scholarship programme which provides places for a number of Scottish students to study and live in China for one year.  In 2017 and 2018 there are 22 places. CISS hope to extend the programme further for 2019.

There are now 22 CISS classroom “hubs” in secondary schools across Scotland.  The hubs promote joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.  A number of primary schools are now involved, enabling learning activities to reach a larger number of young people.

Former Confucius scholar Grace Paterson, 21, a former pupil of Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline, is now studying Chinese language with business at Nankai University in Tianjin.

She said:

“I have now lived and studied in Tianjin for almost three years and can confidently say it’s been the best experience of my life. After a year of Chinese study I knew I hadn’t had enough and have since been doing my undergraduate in Chinese language at Nankai University. The added bonus of being able to speak Chinese has totally changed my time here for the better as I’ve been able to experience a more authentic side to the country, gain a deeper understanding of the people and culture and make friends from more countries than I can count. I have been given the opportunity to see for myself what kind of a country China is and I still have no plans to leave in the near future, I feel very comfortable to call Tianjin ‘home’.”

Four specialist hubs at the Scottish Schools Football Association, the Royal Conservatoire, Scottish Opera and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (Edinburgh Zoo) are being launched this year. The hubs will do outreach work with schools to blend learning about Chinese culture and language through their area of expertise.

The hub at Edinburgh Zoo is the first specialist Science Confucius Classroom Hub in the world.


In 2018/19 Scottish Government will provide £754,000 in grant funding to the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s schools and £700,000 to Scotland’s National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University, where CISS is co-located. This funding builds on that awarded in previous years.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS) at the University of Strathclyde was established in partnership with Tianjin Education Commission in 2012 with the aim of strengthening educational cooperation between China and Scotland.

Get news from the First Minister’s visit to China by following @ScotGovFM on Twitter.

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