Education news

Search is on for young Mandarin stars

Wei Wei from the Confucius Institute at Ulster University helps launch the Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition

SECONDARY schools are being invited to take part in competition designed to encourage interest in Chinese culture and language.

The Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition, supported by the British Council and HSBC, is to hold a regional heat in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The competition is open to both groups and individuals of all abilities, with groups performing a short song or drama that must in some way be related to China.

The heat will take place at The MAC, Belfast on November 28 with the winners put forward to the UK-wide heat in the British Museum in London in February 2018.

Mandarin is ranked as one of the most vital languages to Britain and Northern Ireland over the next 20 years.

British Council Northern Ireland deputy director Jonathan Stewart said Mandarin Chinese was important to the UK's future prosperity and to the personal career opportunities of those who speak it.

"With the increasing influence China has on the world economy, we need to prepare our young people for life in a globalised, multicultural society," he said.

"Knowledge of Mandarin and Chinese culture among people in the UK will create a deeper mutual understanding between our communities and give young people the intercultural skills necessary for the future."

Schools have until Friday, October 6 2017 to get their applications in. To apply, visit

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