The first private Chinese-language school is to open in Sofia in the autumn, with 60 pupils from first to 12th grade.
There will also be preparatory classes for five-year-old children at the school, according to the Zahari Stoyanov Foundation, which with Sofia University is the co-founder of the project.
The foundation’s Nikolai Yalamov told Bulgarian National Radio that the Chinese language could greatly enrich pupils because Chinese business and Chinese culture should not be underestimated, while China’s economic presence in the world was continuing to grow.
He said that in Bulgaria, there were few state schools with Chinese classes.
Yalamov said that Chinese would not be the only language at the school, there would be others, including English.
Tuition at the school will be supported by Sofia University through its Confucius Institute.
The Confucius Institute in Sofia’s main activities, by its own description, are related to the teaching of the Chinese language and expanding the knowledge of people from different countries about the Chinese language and culture, as well as development of friendly relations and expansion of the international exchange and cooperation between China and the countries around the world in the fields of education, science, culture, economy and other spheres.
The Confucius Institute in Sofia was established with the support of the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban) as a partner organisation between the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and the Beijing Foreign Studies University, and it is part of the global network of over 400 Chinese educational institutions worldwide, according to the institute’s website.
Applicants for the school will be selected through an interview with the head of the school and a psychologist.
Yalamov said that the Confucius Institute would supply all educational materials free-of-charge. A Chinese tutor would arrive in the autumn to assist in teaching the children.
The Confucius Institute would also provide future visits by the pupils to China, the cost to parents will be limited to the ticket and everything else will be borne by China.
“We have agreed that each child has the opportunity once a year for two weeks to visit the country,” Yalamov said.
Currently, about 2000 children were learning Chinese at Bulgarian schools, BNR said.