A centre which promotes Chinese language and learning in Scottish schools has been named global Confucius Institute of the Year.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS), based at the University of Strathclyde, was chosen from among hundreds of centres to receive the award.

It was awarded the accolade by Hanban, a public institution affiliated with the Chinese ministry of education.

CISS provides support to more than 300 schools across Scotland and aims to further the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "More than 20,000 pupils across Scotland are benefiting from Chinese language and cultural learning activities thanks to the Confucius Institute at Strathclyde.

"We equip these pupils with a global outlook and skills that will support them throughout their careers in business, industry and the professions.

"Our Confucius Institute plays a major role in supporting our vision as a leading international technological university - and in strengthening Scotland's wider links with China - and we are delighted its important work has been formally recognised by Hanban."

There are 475 Confucius Institutes around the world.

CISS was launched in June 2012 and aims to support the delivery of high-quality Chinese language learning to Scotland's children.

It provides strategic direction to Confucius classroom hubs, supports teachers, promotes the benefits of learning about Chinese language and culture, and works closely with Hanban, Tianjin Education Commission and the Scottish Government.

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "Winning this international accolade is wonderful news for the Confucius Institute for Scotland's schools and Scotland as a whole.

"It is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the hard work that goes into supporting thousands of pupils across the country learn the Chinese language.

"The institute's work has helped open the eyes of our young people to a fascinating culture and given them a window onto the wider world beyond their classrooms to inspire them to learn."

CISS recently added four more Confucius classroom hubs - taking its total in Scotland to 16, covering 21 local authority areas.