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Leading independent school in Britain plans to enhance educat

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LONDON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Uppingham School, one of Britain's oldest independent schools, is looking to enhance ties and establish presence in China.

Founded in 1584, this leading co-educational independent school situated in the small market town of Uppingham in Rutland, England, added Mandarin lessons to its curriculum three years ago and is now planning to launch three schools in China.

The headmaster, Dr. Richard Maloney, discussed the potential for British-Chinese educational cooperation on Thursday with Wang Yongli, minister counsellor for education at the Chinese Embassy in Britain.

For the first time in the school's 435-year history, the national flag of China was hoisted on the campus to welcome the Chinese guests.

The school also unveiled a paver on the campus bearing the name of its senior adviser in China, Professor Cao Qun, who is an esteemed educationalist and singer, acknowledging his great support and guidance over the past 12 years.

Maloney said his school will soon announce the opening of its first ever campus in China. He believes the three schools planned to be opened in China would help show that Uppingham is forward-looking and open to the world.

"Our school is not an isolated island in a rather cold and dump ocean just off the edge of Europe. We like to see our school as a portal, as the gateway that opens up to the whole world," he said. "Our projects in China are enormously important to us, mostly on an educational level but also on a cultural level. Because the young people we educated in this country, in Europe, in Asia or in north America, they will be world citizens, going to work and live together. What would bind them is education, the collective sense of values."

Maloney said he had visited China five times during the past 14 months, and every time he went he was humbled by what he saw, by the vision, planning and agility of the country.

He also praised the Chinese students in Uppingham School as"ambassadors for their country and for the young global citizens."

"They speak fluent English. They have intellectual curiosity, enjoying the culture and arts. They are willing to learn and are open. They are ambitious and are proud of their families and the cities and towns they come from. We are lucky to have them here and they also help to show youngsters from Britain what the rest of the world looks like,"he told Xinhua.

Nearly 20 percent of the school's 800 students are international and 8 percent of them are Chinese.

Wang Yongli from the Chinese Embassy welcomed Uppingham's efforts toward cooperation and said that China will continue to help young students go abroad "to learn not only knowledge and technology, but also to learn from different cultures and peoples."

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