Hills Grammar unites with a Chinese sister

The Hills Grammar School hopes to introduce Mandarin to its language curriculum in 2014 and will have a valuable resource to call on when it does — a new sister school in China.

Principal of the Hills Grammar School, Robert Phipps, and Tianjin Experimental High School principal, Hong Zhang, signed an agreement on Wednesday to benefit the almost 5000 students in their care.

Mr Phipps said the agreement had taken five years to come to fruition and would allow for student and staff exchanges.

‘‘The benefit is that we will develop a knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Chinese history, culture and language,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re very excited about it. We’re very much about developing our students as global citizens so they have a real sense of global-mindedness and understanding of other countries, particularly in Asia.’’

Mr Phipps said both schools offered the International Baccalaureate and had rigorous academic standards.

‘‘Madame Zhang is looking for us to enrich their creativity as Chinese education is often quite strict,’’ he said.

‘‘Things like visual arts, drama, music — all of those things they want to enrich the program with.

‘‘I envisage our orchestra and our sporting teams and history and language students visiting on organised tours.’’

‘‘It starts slowly,’’ he said.

‘‘Generally relationships are formed once both schools have a real understanding of what the benefits are and there is a confidence that the schools will keep the agreement going.’’

Madame Zhang said the agreement was an important opportunity for students to know the world better and engage in a global and multicultural 21st century.

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