Study News

Some Canadian schools reject China's Confucius Institute, calling it "propaganda"

Edited on 2019-12-01

The Institute is partly funded by China's Ministry of Education and offers programming at elementary and high schools, as well as colleges and universities across Canada. China provides annual funding to run the programs as well as Chinese instructors paid by China. In Edmonton's case, they work alongside the school's regular teachers to deliver language immersion programming.

Much of Confucius Institute operates worldwide and offers a variety of classes from learning language to Chinese culture, such as calligraphy. It has been collaborating with eight colleges and universities and three school boards in Canada.

Concerns of the Institute's political interference and censorship in some of its classes arise. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) accuse the Institute's teachers are blacklisting topics that show China in a bad light and only teach what the Chinese Communist Party approves.
The Edmonton Public School Board, however, denies such assertions. It emphasizes the teaching materials have been cautiously evaluated and controversial topics will not get subdued in class.

On the other hand, Kathleen Lowrey, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Alberta, points out the importance of separating Chinese culture and language and civilization from the Chinese state due to the totally different values between Canada and China’s authorities.

Some schools have originally took on Confucius Institute have already terminated the partnership. In 2014 the Toronto District School Board removed the Institute from its schools following protests. The University of Manitoba has also discontinued the Confucius Institute from its campus over freedom of education concerns. New Brunswick's Education Department, meanwhile, will have withdrawn the program completely by 2022.