China vows better education co-op with Kenya

09:13, July 16, 2011      

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The Chinese government has expressed its strong commitment to lift educational cooperation with Kenya and promised to increase the amount of scholarships given to Kenyan students to study in Chinese universities from the current 32 to 64 annually, a top Kenyan government official said on Friday.

Kenya Minister's of Higher Education, Science and Technology Prof Hellen Sambili said in Nairobi that the move follows an agreement signed in April between the two governments. "This year, the Chinese government through the China Scholarship Council (CSC) will provide 46 scholarships for Kenyans to study courses in science and technology," Sambili said during the opening ceremony of the 3rd Chinese Education Exhibition in Nairobi on Friday. "This will open up more study opportunities to students in Kenya by increasing the options available for students," she added.

The Exhibition brings together 100 representatives from 49 Chinese universities who are showcasing educational opportunities in the Asian country.

Additionally, the Beijing Municipal Government committed to offer 10 post graduates scholarships to Kenyan students. "These scholarships will narrow the knowledge gap between the two countries as the Kenyan students will apply the technology learnt to develop their country," Sambili said.

Liu Jinghui, the secretary general of the CSC, said the two-day exhibition will provide a window for educational institutions, educators and students to know China's educational development. "The Chinese institutions represented are ready to do joint collaborative projects in the field of agriculture and technology so that Kenya can benefit," she said. "As a result of the reforms in China over 30 years ago, the educational sector has opened up to international students and in 2010 they totaled over 260,000 with over 16,000 from Africa," she added.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is set to fund the construction of a 6.7 million U.S. dollars Confucius Institute in Nairobi beginning next year. "Due to increasing enrollment of students learning Chinese culture and language, the two Nairobi based institutes housed in universities cannot cope with the rising demand," the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi Professor Isaac Mbeche said.

Both universities have about 1,000 students currently. Mbeche said his institution has started talks with Chinese Language Council International as known as the Hanban to provide more courses. "The new building will provide Masters Program in Chinese language and culture, in addition to the current basic proficiency and bachelors programs currently available," Mbeche said.

Those who perform well are readily absorbed into the job market in the growing tourism and construction industry buoyed by Chinese companies, he added. "Some are also teaching in primary and secondary schools throughout the country," Mbeche said.

The two-day education exhibition aims at effectively promoting Kenyans' understanding about China's higher education and attracting more Kenyan students to study in China.

Kenyan college and middle school teachers and students will be among the main beneficiaries of the exhibition that will be graced by both Chinese and Kenyan government officials.

China has stepped up cooperation with Kenya in the area of education, offering over 40 scholarships to Kenyan students per year to study in Chinese universities since 1982.

Last April, the Ministry of Education of China and Kenya's Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology signed an Agreement on Educational Exchanges and Cooperation for the period of 2011 to 2015.

Source: Xinhua
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