The Development of Chinese Language Education in Ireland: Issues and Prospects
There has been a massive growth in trade and communication between Ireland and China in the past decade. Under such influence, Irish third level institutions have established Chinese or Chinese-related degree programmes, and post-primary schools have been offering Chinese courses as Transition Year1 modules. However, the continuous development of Chinese language education in Ireland also faces many challenges. Though the Junior Cycle Short Course2 in Chinese has been designed and published for three years now, there are still very few schools offering this course for a variety of educational and sociocultural reasons. In higher education, Chinese programmes are showing decreasing enrolment, and learners were found to suffer from demotivation issues. This paper briefly reviews the development of Chinese language education in Ireland in the past decade. It aims to suggest means of addressing some existing issues from three general perspectives regarding the course syllabi and materials, the Chinese teachers and the relevant research in an Irish context.