I WRITE in response to the article on the role of Confucius Institutes here in Scotland ("Sturgeon 'wildly irresponsible' for extra Confucius Institute", The Herald, April 10). I was troubled by the quality of the argument presented and its one-sided nature. Unlike Green Party MSP Ross Greer, whom you quote, I speak from direct experience of working with a range of Chinese partner universities in the promotion of study-abroad experiences for students in higher education and in my own research into Chinese language and culture in Scottish primary schools.

With regards to the first of these, the notion that school pupils or students are being involved in some sort of indoctrination through the promotion of study-abroad experiences is absurd. The cultural experiences and impact that these visits have is invaluable in promoting a global way of thinking, something which should be welcomed. Having attended a number of these programmes alongside students, there is nothing in the content that would give rise to the sorts of exaggerated concerns expressed and this would be supported by the students themselves.

Secondly, to suggest that visiting teachers from Tianjin, or any other parts of China, are acting on behalf of the Chinese state to spread its "political agenda" is deeply troubling and belittles the hard work and personal commitment they show in coming to Scotland for one to two years, working in our schools to encourage young people to see the world in different ways. When asked about their experiences, pupils generally talk about these in a positive way that often reflects a balanced knowledge of China that would embarrass many adults. Moreover, their enthusiasm for learning the language should be welcomed in line with the 1+2 languages agenda. The learning of Mandarin is a choice made by schools and not a compulsion.

No-one disputes the need to raise difficult issues, such as human rights, with the Chinese Government, but the way to do so is through meaningful and respectful engagement. To carp loudly from the sidelines will mean that we are completely ignored and unable to change the situation for the better. For those who would be happy for such a situation to prevail, I would simply ask that their views are more widely based on actual facts and experiences and focus on what is happening here solely in the Scottish context. However, to seek to politicise positive cultural experiences for our young people is the most troubling aspect of the article and cannot go unchallenged.

D Roxburgh,

Kilpatrick Court, Glasgow.