Chinese voices are increasingly being heard in Coquitlam, British Columbia, through the Confucius Classroom program where 450 local residents, young and old, are currently studying Mandarin at a conversation level.
On Tuesday in the Vancouver suburb city, the program, which is funded by the Chinese government through the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban) took a major step when it unveiled a major acquisition sure to benefit thousands of Canadians for years to come.
At a presentation held at the Coquitlam Public Library's Poirier branch, staff displayed just a small amount of the 1 million Canadian dollars of Chinese books, DVDs and dictionaries that have been donated by China to be placed in local high schools and libraries.
In addition, four multimedia 50-inch touch-screen display units have been donated through Hanban grant money to help promote the Chinese language message through a fun and interactive approach. Three of the 10,000 Canadian dollar units will be used in the Confucius Classroom program and the other by the Coquitlam Public Library.
With the Mandarin classes currently taking place Friday and Saturday, the students are divided into three groups of ages four to 10, 11 to 16 and 17 and up. In addition to having fun, the main focus of the program is to "experience, learn and grow with the language and to explore the traditional history and dynamic culture of China."