Rwanda: More African Students Set to Benefit From Chinese Scholarships
Updated: 2014/05/27 Source: AllAfrica.com
Beijing — The Chinese government will continue to provide study scholarships to African students, a Chinese government official has said.
In an interview with African foreign correspondents in Beijing last week, Cen Jianjun, the Director General of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges in the Ministry of Education said the multi-dimension, multi-tier and inter-agency cooperation has been characterised by an ever increasing student exchange programme.
By the end of 2013, there were over 35,000 African students in China and most of them were beneficiaries of the Chinese government scholarships.
The period following the reform and opening policy (after 1979) witnessed an increase in the number of students coming to China. Over 2,700 African students were enrolled in Chinese universities by the year 2000.
Overall Chinese government scholarships increased from about 10,000 in 2007 to about 33,000 in 2013. Of these, 7,300 have gone to African students accounting for about 22 per cent of scholarships offered by the Chinese government.
"The number will continue to increase because these students go back to their countries and significantly contribute to the social, economic and political development of those countries," Cen Jianjun said.
He said upon graduation, African students have gone on to work with government, start their own businesses or worked with Chinese-founded companies in Africa. This, he said, is a big boost to China-Africa trade ties.
By 2013 China had offered over 500 scholarships to Rwandan students pursuing programmes in various fields. These include science and technology.
Previously African students came to study Chinese language but today study fields have been increased to include science and engineering. About 30 per cent pursue science disciplines like computer and civil engineering.
Nobert Haguma, the CEO of Kiziga, an organisation that helps young people to apply for university, get internship and jobs in China says the number of privately sponsored students from Africa and Rwanda in particular studying in China is growing by 25 per cent each year. He attributes this increase to cost, quality and safety.
"Rwandan parents want their children to study in China because it is safe and has excellent universities that are affordable," he says.
Cen Jianjun noted that there are other untapped avenues through which African students can get funding for their education in China. These include applying directly to Chinese Universities or taking advantage of scholarships offered by local governments.
"We encourage African students to get into direct contact with our universities so that they can enjoy government scholarships," Jianjun said.
"We also have scholarships set up by local governments and universities themselves but there are fewer African applicants as most of these scholarships go to our neighbouring countries," he said.