On Sunday, 110 headmasters of British schools visited China for an exchange program on Chinese language education.
The program, "Chinese Bridge for UK Schools," is designed to boost cooperation between Chinese and British primary and middle schools in Chinese language teaching.
"If children of Britain can read the original version of Journey to the West and ours read Harry Potter, their childhood will be more colorful," Chinese Vice-Minister of Education Zhang Xinsheng said at the opening ceremony.
"Languages are carriers of different cultures," said Zhang, "Language exchange will help maintain cultural diversity and boost the world peace and development."
British Ambassador to China William Ehrman hoped that headmasters of the two countries could have face-to-face contact and push forward bilateral ties.
In recent years, Britain has seen a rising demand for Chinese learning and more young British have taken Chinese as an important tool to find jobs. Statistics show that in England alone, more than 400 middle schools have set up Chinese courses.
Among the British primary and middle schools where the visiting headmasters come from, 54 have established cooperative ties with Chinese counterparts. Up to now, 10 Confucius Institutes specializing in Chinese teaching have been established in Britain.
According to the organizer, the Office of the Chinese Language Council International, the exchange program is an important part of the memorandum on Chinese teaching cooperation reached by the Chinese and British governments in 2006.
During the week-long program, the British headmasters will visit Chinese primary and middle schools, listen to Chinese scholars' lectures and visit expositions on Chinese teaching resources.
(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2007)