In early January I had the pleasure of spending a few productive (and cold!) days in China visiting our VCE school in Beijing and our Early Childhood partner in Wuhan. I was joined by Nancy and Josephine and am most appreciative for their experience and collegiality. They are both very good travelling companions! Thanks also to Craige for his excellent travel advice.
Nancy and I were warmly welcomed to the Beijing Zhongguancun Foreign Language School (BZFLS) that runs our VCE program. We had a good, albeit brief, opportunity to spend time with the dedicated and passionate staff and hear about their experiences. I even had a chance to work with some of the students in an EAL class, no doubt setting back their progress several months!
Nancy and I also attended the graduation of our first cohort of 30 VCE students. Nancy and Bill, our EAL teacher at BZFLS, as well as one of the parents gave beautiful speeches and Katherine Vickers, Minister Counsellor (Education and Research) in the Australian Embassy (in the white coat below) spoke in glowing terms about our partnership.
The students presented their teachers with flowers and sang many songs. It was lovely.
Later in the week I spent time at CCNU in Wuhan where we have run a collaborative articulation program in early childhood since 2012. Josephine, who has much valued experience in this program, joined me for the rounds of meetings as well as a chance to speak with the students. It was an excellent opportunity for me to get a better understanding of the program and its potential. We had a tour of the impressive kindergarten on campus with its 600 students (!) and beautiful art facilities.
It was a great pleasure have the chance to spend time with our partners and get a better appreciation of the challenges and potential at both locations. I look forward to talking in more detail with our staff who work with each of our partners as we confirm our global approach for the coming years.