Aaron Voeks writes
The University of Chicago closed its Chinese language and research centre in October, and was joined by Penn State University less than a week later. The research centres, known as Confucius Institutes, are Chinese-government-backed institutions established by universities, with a stated aim to ‘promote Chinese language teaching as well as support a broad program of research on China’, according to the Confucius Institutes’ website.
However, the institutes have come under increasing scrutiny on university campuses. Allegations against them include discrimination against the Falun Gong spiritual movement and the refusal to acknowledge historical events such as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Shaun the Sheep, an Aardman Animations character who debuted in the 1995 Oscar-winning film A Close Shave, will soon become the face of a global network for English for young learners’ centres in partnership with the British Council. The first two centres, aimed at children between two and six years, will open in Chile and Singapore later this year, expanding to more countries in 2015.
Angela Snelgrove on changes to recruitment of Ielts examiners in China
Changes to the recruitment of Ielts examiners in China will soon include restrictions on age. The move is part of a long-awaited review of how the British Council manages Ielts exams in China and coincides with changes taking place at other Ielts test centres around the world.
‘We are making the change in order to meet the needs of the market, to ensure we are operating in line with regulatory frameworks and to secure future business growth,’ said a spokesperson for the British Council in London.
Thailand is in the grip of a crackdown on ‘visa runs’, targeting long-term expatriates. The Bangkok Post estimates there are thousands of teachers working without visas.
The Post interviewed ‘Jon’, a UK national who has worked as a full-time English teacher without a visa for five years, making sixty three-monthly visa runs with little trouble, for around 3,000 bhat (£56) a time. Expat Teflers now report interrogations on return to Thailand over their numerous Thai entry stamps.