Parliament's Official Report - Extract

01 March 2013

Scottish-Parliament-Banner.jpgLiz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con):   To ask the Scottish Government how it will implement its working with China strategy. (S4O-01802)

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop): The Scottish Government's "Working with China" publication itself sets out how implementation and delivery will be taken forward. It will be for stakeholders throughout Scotland to work in partnership to achieve the objectives of the China strategy. The Scottish Government's role is to support that engagement where it can and to encourage greater co-operation between partners.

Liz Smith:  I put on record my thanks to the cabinet secretary for showing interest in the area and our collective thanks to Judith McClure and the Scotland China Education Network.

Will the cabinet secretary tell us a little bit more about how the Scottish Government intends to develop links with local authorities and local businesses to find more people who can help to teach Chinese and help young people to learn about China? More specifically, how will it engage with finding more teachers of Chinese?

Fiona Hyslop: Liz Smith makes an important point.  I also echo her thanks to Judith McClure and the SCEN for their work.

There are currently 13 teachers of Mandarin in local authority schools. That compares with eight in 2008-09. I share with Liz Smith the view that we need to increase the opportunities for those who can share language skills.

I spoke at the cross-party group on China recently. Part of our discussion was about a hub that would help to connect people who are doing work in China, whether local authorities or businesses. That should also provide opportunities to identify skills. That is work in progress, but Liz Smith is right to identify the need to mobilise the talent that we have in Scotland to achieve the step change that we need in language skills.

Click here to view the extract on the Government's website

The Scottish Government has published a five-year strategy for engagement with the People's Republic of China:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/7734  (Or download from the link to the right)