Jan. 14, 2020
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri officials announced today that the contract with the Confucius Institute (CI) will be terminated, effective August 2020.

The program will be discontinued due to changes in guidance from the U.S. Department of State.

“We were notified by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs this past July that due to changes in State Department guidance, we would now be required to have a certified Mandarin Chinese language teacher in every classroom with a Confucius Institute staff member,” said Mary Stegmaier, interim vice provost for international programs. “While Missouri-certified teachers were in the classroom with the CI staff, recruiting and supporting the necessary certified Chinese language teachers would be cost prohibitive.”

Currently, 13 student interns through the CI teach Chinese language classes in Columbia Public Schools. All classes are taught while a full-time, Missouri-certified teacher is in the classroom.  The school district plans to continue offering students Chinese.

Stegmaier said that the university is committed to working with CPS, ensuring that students will have the opportunity to continue progressing in their studies of Mandarin Chinese.

“We’ve appreciated our partnership with the Columbia Public School District and will do everything we can so that students can continue learning about this culture and language,” Stegmaier said.

“The district will hire instructors to continue teaching alongside certified Columbia Public Schools teachers,” CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman said. “Children who have started Mandarin Chinese in middle school will be able to continue studying Chinese and children interested in learning Chinese will be able to begin their studies in high school.”

After the university was notified about the changes in July 2019, the U.S. Department of State allowed the university to continue operating the CPS partnership during the 19-20 academic year while the university and CPS considered the best options for continuing to offer Mandarin Chinese to students.