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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jan 24, 2011

Is this serious? Really?

We have a Confucius Institute here in Moncton, Canada, where the Chinese government provides support for Mandarin Language learning in our community. We are happy to have them, and warmly welcome the cooperation between our two societies the institute represents.

Nations with a substantial culture and presence in the world have a long history of providing such assistance. The American Universities in various countries around the world are evidence of this. Radio Canada International performs the same function for Canada. None of this constitutes 'turning our school kids over' to Beijing, Washington, or anyone else.

As noted here (added later), "Countries like Britain, France and Germany have always put great store in it and funded it accordingly. The BBC, Alliance Française and the Goethe Institute have for decades been instruments of 'soft power,' spreading the culture, values and language of their respective governments around the globe."

If there is a genuine concern to be raised about 'buying off' educators, it is not the paltry contributions of the Chinese which ought to be of concern, but rather, the well-funded, loud, intrusive and pervasive efforts of the corporate right, which are in the main attempting to eliminate public education entirely, and substitute for it a new profit centre for its subsidiaries.

But I guess Chester Finn wouldn't know about that, hm?

(Update: I've created a Wikipedia Page for the Confucius Institute in Moncton).

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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