A growing number of Irish teenagers are expected to learn about Chinese culture and language as a result of a new programme that has been developed for Transition Year students.

The new study module has been piloted in 20 schools around the country and more than 50 schools have signed up to deliver it from next year.

The programme has been developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment with the UCD Confucius Institute.

It is designed so that Irish teachers can deliver it, supported by online and other materials.

As part of planned reform of the Junior Certificate syllabus, the NCCA is also in the process of designing a Short Course in Chinese language and culture that would be available to Junior Cert students from 2014.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has signalled his intention to have Chinese included as a Leaving Certificate subject "in due course".