A senior official with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has predicted rapid expansion of an education exchange founded by the group, following a major commitment to the scheme by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi announced in a speech on Saturday that China will provide 30,000 government scholarships to students from member states of the SCO over the next 10 years.
Speaking at Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev University amid his ongoing four-nation Central Asia tour, the president said China will also invite 10,000 teachers or students from Confucius Institutes to research or study in China during the period.
The move, aimed at boosting communication among the youth of SCO member nations, comes within the University of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (USCO), a mechanism under which member states exchange scholarships.
"Cooperation in the education sector is of strategic significance in order to sustain lasting peace, mutual benefit and win-win results among the member states of the SCO," Sui Ran, secretary-general of the internal coordination mechanism of the USCO, told Xinhua on Monday.
The USCO was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and agreed by members of the SCO at the organization's annual summit in 2007.
Of the 80 member universities of the USCO, 20 are Chinese, offering majors covering ecology, information technology and nano technology, according to Sui.
"The USCO differs from other university alliances as students can obtain both graduate certificates and diplomas of their previous universities, as well as unified graduate certificates conferred by the USCO," he explained.
"The enrollment scale and academic fields are expected to be expanded in the future," Sui said, adding that he hoped members of the SCO could pay due attention to the USCO at the upcoming 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the SCO in Bishkek, Kyrgystan.