24 August 1996


Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, currently on a four-day visit to China, today witnessed the signing of an agreement which will see an Australian school establish a campus in Nanjing - the first of its kind for a school in Australia, and between a Chinese and foreign secondary school anywhere in the world.

Under the plan, groups of up to 40 secondary (Year 9) students from Melbourne-based Caulfield Grammar School will each year live and study at the campus for five weeks.

The agreement was signed today at the Nanjing Municipal Government Office by the Principal of the Nanjing Middle School affiliated with Nanjing Normal University, Mr Min Kairen, and the Principle of Caulfield Grammar School, Mr Stephen Newton. Also present to witness the signing was the Mayor of Nanjing, Mr Wang Hongmin.

The campus will consist of residential accomodation for the students and a number of Australian staff and their families. It will be built on land adjoining the Nanjing Normal University affiliated Middle School and is expected to be completed by August next year.

Jiangsu Province has a sister-state relationship with the southern Australia state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. Nanjing University has for some time had a very active Australian studies program.

The students' study program, expected to be fully underway by 1998, will include instruction in Chinese language, family life, history, politics, cuisine, music, art, drama and environment. Students will also have the opportunity to visit Australian joint venture businesses operating in the Jiangsu province.

Commenting on the agreement today, Mr Downer said : "I am delighted to see further development of educational ties between Australia and China at the high school level being given such concrete expression. This fully accords with the emphasis being given by the Australian Government to increasing our long-term links with the countries and cultures of Asia."

Nanjing Middle School affiliated with Nanjing Normal University, which has expressed strong support for the proposal, is a sencondary school with over 2000 students. Caulfield Grammar School, meanwhile, has a very active internationally oriented studies program, with studies in Mandarin, Chinese and other Asian languages being offered to students at both primary and secondary levels.

The Pirncipal of Caulfield Grammar School, Mr Stephen Newton, said the school's commitment to internationalism was in recognition of the fact that its students were not only citizens of Australia, but citizens of the world.

"There is little doubt that many of today's graduates will be confronted with the prospect of one or more career changes during their working lives. These changes will, for many, see them become players in the emerging global economy, presented with new challenges for travel, extensive contact with overseas organisations and in many cases, working overseas.
"Therfore as educators, we must take seriously our responsibilty in ensuring that today's students are adequately prepared to make a successful contribution to the workplace of the future."


[For further information on the project please contact Mr John Blewonski, Caulfield Grammar School, Melbourne (03) 95286544]