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Chinese ambassador provides major boost to Sierra Leone’s education sector

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo (People's Daily Online)    17:52, October 22, 2019

The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang, and the Sierra Leone Minister of Higher and Technical Education Professor Aiah Gbakima attend an International Photo Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

The Chinese Embassy Open House Day and the Awarding Ceremony of the 2019 Chinese Ambassador Scholarships were recently held in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. This came about two weeks after the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone held a grand reception in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, inviting friends from all walks of life from both China and Sierra Leone to celebrate.

“Today, we are holding the Awarding Ceremony of the 2019 Chinese Ambassador Scholarships and the Embassy Open House Day to promote China-Sierra Leone friendship and friendly cooperation and deepen our mutual understanding,” said Ambassador Hu Zhangliang.

The Chinese ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang, presents awards and scholarships to students (Thursday 17th October 2019)

This year marks the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone. The two countries continue to celebrate fruitful cooperation results in various fields, among which education is an important component. 

Sierra Leone enjoys the reputation of Athens of West Africa, and the Sierra Leonean government and people have always attached great importance to education. The current Sierra Leonean government takes education as one of its top priorities of its New Direction Agenda for national development.

China has consistently supported Sierra Leone in its educational development and human capacity building, contributing to the "Free Quality Education" flagship program. Nearly 120 Sierra Leonean students were enrolled by Chinese universities under the Chinese Government Scholarships Program this year.

Chinese and Sierra Leonean Authorities pose for a group photo with scholarship recipients

“As you may know, since 2015, the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has established the Chinese Ambassador Scholarships to encourage students with outstanding academic performance and support those with financial difficulties. We hope this could help students better conduct their studies and contribute to the social and economic development of Sierra Leone,” says Ambassador Hu.

To date, a total of 73 students have benefited from the Chinese Ambassador Scholarships, including the 25 most recently awarded. The Chinese Ambassador also provided grants to 22 underprivileged students, 20 of whom were from Fourah Bay College Junior Secondary School.

A Chinese Medical Team provide free medical aid to Sierra Leoneans

“At the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017, President Xi Jinping said that we should not give up on our dreams because the reality around us is too complicated; we should not stop pursuing our ideals because they seem out of our reach. It is precisely because of this spirit of never giving up, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, have become self-reliant, worked diligently, and surmounted all difficulties and obstacles to create Chinese miracles that the world has marveled at in the past 70 years. Today, I have seen a similar spirit in the students and people of Sierra Leone. I believe that through your unremitting struggle, the future of Sierra Leone will be better, and the future of China-Sierra Leone relations will be brighter,” the Chinese Ambassador remarked.

Professor Aiah Gbakima, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Technical and Higher Education, expressed his happiness for the scholarships. His government, he said, prioritizes the development of human capacity, noting that education is seen as a topmost priority, for which the Chinese have not relented in providing support.

A Sierra Leonean tries some Chinese tea

He advised the recipients to treat their education with seriousness. “Only education and hard work will get you where you want to go. You have to give up something to get something,” he said.

The Embassy also unveiled the International Photo Exhibition Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China to showcase China's development over the past seven decades. It also displayed some items of traditional Chinese culture, such as paper-cutting, calligraphy, and classical music. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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