After pressure from the NSW Upper House the Government has finally released a secret report on the controversial Confucius Classrooms in NSW schools. The report discloses how the NSW Government signed an agreement with the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China making the NSW Education Department the only education department in the world to directly host a Confucius Institute inside its offices.
The report offers a scathing assessment of this arrangement labelling the “placement of an institute with foreign government involvement inside a government department” as “unwise and problematic”.
It went on to say that “having foreign government appointees inside a NSW government department is one thing, having appointees of a one party state that exercises censorship in its own country working in a government department in a democratic system is another”.
The report was requested last year by the then Education Minister and was only released after steps by the Greens in Parliament to force its disclosure.
Greens MP and spokesperson for Education David Shoebridge said:
“It is extraordinary that the Coalition Government signed an agreement making the NSW Education Department the only education department in the world to directly host a Confucius Institute inside its offices.
“Under the arrangement there are Chinese government appointees working directly inside the NSW Education Department. No foreign government officials should be inside the NSW government.
“I’m glad to see the release of the review and termination of the agreement, but we are only seeing this because the Government has been shamed into it by the numbers in the Upper House.
“The Confucius Institute hands over an up front $150,000 USD payment and then $10,000 USD for each Confucius Classroom with free teachers, resources and curriculum all being provided.
“This is a pretty stunning example of the NSW Government selling access to NSW school kids, and this time selling that access to the Government of a one-party state.
“The secrecy behind this program just increased the concern about inappropriate foreign influence, and now we see why.
“This is not the end of the matter, with the Confucius Institute operating in a series of universities in NSW where similar concerns exist,” Mr Shoebridge said.