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NZ/China renew MoU on Cooperation in Education

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister for Tertiary Education

6 April 2006 Media Statement

NZ/China renew Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education and Training

The value of close ties between New Zealand and China has been underlined by the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Education and Training between the two countries today, said Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen.

His comments follow a signing ceremony attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark and visiting Premier of the People's Republic of China, Wen Jiabao.

"The renewed agreement will further strengthen information flows and deepen the relationships between the two countries’ Ministries of Education. It will be of particular value for education organisations who want to establish joint programmes and relationships with their counterparts in China," said Dr Cullen.

The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Yuanyuan, and the Secretary for Education, Howard Fancy, signed the document at a ceremony at Parliament today.

The MoU includes a commitment from the Chinese Ministry of Education to increase the number of scholarships available for short-term training of New Zealand Chinese language teachers from two every other year to 15 each year.

"The MoU reinforces the closer relationship developing between New Zealand and China, and demonstrates that New Zealand and China view each other as reliable education partners," said Dr Cullen.

It replaces the previous MoU signed in 2002, which established the two bi-annual teaching scholarships, a Chinese language advisor to support teachers in New Zealand schools, 10 scholarships a year for New Zealand students to study in China and a joint working group to allow regular communications between officials.

The revised MoU restates the promotion of Chinese language learning and encourages the establishment of a “Confucius Institute” in New Zealand. Confucius Institutes are supported by the Chinese government and aim to promote a better understanding of Chinese language and culture outside China. The first Confucius Institute in New Zealand is being established in partnership with the University of Auckland.


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