Chasing the Dragon: Is Scotland really committed to links with China, or is it just after its money?

I stumbled across this magazine the other day.  The Chinese dragon on the front cover was what first attracted me to the story: Scotland wanting to strengthen and build upon our  links with China.  This article mainly talks about Scottish primary schools and how much they would benefit from an introduction of Chinese classes, not only learning the language, but also being educated on the Chinese culture.  The underlying argument of the article written by Julia Horton, seems to be the struggle with the Scottish government and their willingness to fund Mandarin teachers in all public sector schools.  Surely all children should be given the opportunity to learn Chinese.

Mr Billington asks:

“Most independent schools are buying in Mandarin teachers because of the business opportunities for young people.  Why shouldn’t that opportunity be given to every pupil in Scotland?”

An important part of the article that I wish to highlight is the section headed: ‘Fostering a long-established relationship.’  It points out that every university in Scotland has either a long-established relationship or fast developing links with China or Hong Kong, promoting collaborative research, education and business:

“At Aberdeen, the relationship dates back to 1892 when the Hong Kong college of medicine for China was established by the Aberdeen alumnus.  The college, which later became the university of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, has the longest history of fostering and developing western medicine for use in Asia.

Now Aberdeen has partnerships with numerousinstitutionsin Hong Kong and China with extracts and joint degrees in subjects including business, law and linguistics.

Dundee’s links include computing and engineering while the university of Edinburgh welcomed 806 students from China and 131 from Hong Kong in the 2009-10 academic year alone, thanks in part to becoming first UK university to secure an undergraduate exchange with Peking university.

Newer universities are keen to catch up with Queen Margaret eager to break into the Chinese market through its new campus in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Nigel Fong, a Hong Kong finance professional who was educated at Morrisons academy in Crieff has just launched the Hong Kong Scotland Education Connection, forging links between schools in both nations.”

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