Alcantara Communications has been commissioned by the British Council and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) to carry out research into the learning and teaching of Chinese in the UK. The research forms part of a joint British Council/Hanban initiative to develop Chinese language capacity in the UK as a means of supporting deeper and broader cultural, educational and economic links between the UK and China. It is expected that the research will play a pivotal role in the success of this initiative and in mapping out the road to increasing the number of Chinese learners in the UK. Key objectives of the research include:
- to understand the nature of the UK’s need for Chinese language skills and the benefits Chinese can bring to individuals, organisations, businesses and the country at large
- to assess how many Chinese speakers the UK will need to effectively engage with China in the future and establish the current capacity and output of Chinese speakers in the UK
- to analyse the current policy environment and provisions for Chinese language learning in the UK and identify the specific factors that help/hinder the take-up of Chinese language
- to assess the full range of actual and potential resources at the UK’s disposal
- to identify strengths, gaps and challenges in strategy, practice and provision and make recommendations for specific interventions that will enable the UK to double the number of Chinese learners and develop a pool of Chinese speakers by 2020.
In partnership with SCILT, which acts as the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, Alcantara Communications won the tender to carry out the educational component of the research project. The other component, which focusses on the economic value and benefits of Chinese, is being carried out by Oxford Economics, an organisation specialising global forecasting and quantitative analysis. The two organisations are working closely together under the leadership of the British Council and Hanban and expect to complete the research by the end of September.