Mandarin Excellence Program – Eva Lama Gumley House School
The Mandarin Excellence Program aka MEP is an intensive language study program involving the study of Mandarin Chinese. Started in 2016, the aim is to complete the course by 2024. It starts in Year 7 and continues through to GCSEs and/or A-levels. So far, more than 8,000 students from 75 different schools have enrolled in this course. The program includes four hours of teacher-led lessons each week, which contributes to eight hours of study per week.
In year 7, newly enrolled students take a trip to Oxford where they visit a museum of Chinese artifacts, shop at a Chinese store, and eat at a Chinese restaurant before finally going to an Oxford university to take a Chinese lesson. The program includes a variety of activities including, in previous years, a two-week trip to China. Although the last two years were canceled due to covid, they held a two week online study program where Chinese students and teachers taught UK students about their culture and language. This included virtual visits to Panda enclosures and trips to street markets.
Many choose to take Chinese for their GCSEs, meaning they take five years of intensive Chinese or seven if they choose to take it for A levels.
“It gives us the opportunity to work with people from other countries and cultures. It also helps us develop our language skills. -Schnelle D’silva Year 10.
“Mandarin lessons are fun, but it’s hard work! The teacher is nice but strict and she regularly motivates us to get good results and study a lot. I have acquired a lot of knowledge in Mandarin in the last years of study and I have also acquired an excellent knowledge of Chinese culture. Chinese requires great determination but I highly recommend learning it!” – Dara Lloyds Year 10.
Chinese language is a difficult subject that requires dedication and hard work, but it is definitely worth it, you can make new friends and discover a new world of culture different from yours.