Confucius Institutes should be innovated and reformed to enable Chinese education centers abroad to better meet foreign needs for Mandarin and Chinese culture lessons, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong said on Sunday.
The Confucius Institutes' teaching quality, operational modes and appeal have been improved in 2015, "building a bridge for communication and sowing seeds of friendship between Chinese people and people in the world," Liu said while addressing the institutes' global conference in Shanghai.
Liu called on related agencies to gradually localize the Confucius Institutes overseas, and reform teaching content and methods to adapt to foreign demands and better serve the public.
Efforts should also be made to promote sustainable development of the institutes to enable them to contribute more to the harmonious coexistence of diversified civilizations, she noted.
The institutes, named after ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, serve as non-profit public institutions to help foreigners better understand China by teaching language and culture at universities overseas. The first such institute was established in 2004.
A total of 1.9 million people are studying Chinese language and culture in 500 Confucius Institutes and 1,000 Confucius Classrooms in 134 countries and regions.
More than 2,300 people, including representatives from universities and Confucius Institutes around the world, attended Sunday's conference to discuss the institutes' future development.