A Chinese Professor has observed that lack of African students at Peking University in China has affected the learning of African studies.
Li Anshan, a professor specialised in African studies at Peking University in China said there were no African students admitted at the university under the subject where scholars from other continents can draw knowledge and reality about Africa.
Professor Li disclosed his observation in a meeting hosted for African Journalists held at the institution today.
He said that although the university has books about Africa, there was need for students learning the subject to interact with those from the continent in order for them to share and get the reality of Africa from African students as opposed to recorded information.
“Currently there are 15 African students in other fields at the university but the busy learning schedule among them poses a challenge for interaction with those majoring in African studies,” he said.
He stated that in the quest to have more African interactions on exchange basis, the university has since entered into agreements with some universities in countries such as the Centre for African Studies in Cairo, Egypt, South Africa and Dar-es-Salaam University of Tanzania among others.
Prof. Li also said plans are underway to engage the University of Zambia School of Economics and Cultural Studies and other universities in the region with the view to expanding the exchange programme between China and African countries.
The Chinese academician however, cited language barrier, distance and historical linkages as some of the reasons for low enrolment levels of African students at the institution.
At the same function, Deputy Director and Secretary General of Centre for African Studies who is also Associate Professor of School of International Studies at Peking University, Liu Haifang said the institute’s level of enrolment for overseas students has dropped because majority were failing to meet the requirements of admission.
And, Yvonne Prempeh, a Ghanaian student studying public policy at the university said she was invited by her Lecturer, Professor Liu Haifang to attend the workshop and meeting to help give her side of the story about Africa as an African.
Mrs. Prempeh said the invitation was not the first as she had been a focal person in the mobilization of fellow Africans both from the continent and the diaspora as well as some blacks from Jamaica and other islands with African descendants learning at the institution.
She further said there were 26 black students at Peking University and 15 of them were Africans.
Mrs. Prempeh, an investment analyst working for social security and national insurance trust in Ghana, is in China under the sponsorship of the Chinese government.
The meeting was held as a follow up to the just ended two days workshop for international development cooperation which focused on exploring Sino-Dutch Complementarity in Africa Studies and Policies that was held at Lakeview Hotel in Beijing recently.
The African Journalists attended the meeting as part of the China-Africa friendship cooperation under which ten African countries drawn from West, North, East and Southern Africa are being represented on a one year training programme on publicity and diplomacy sponsored by China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) and coordinated by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The countries are Senegal, Ghana, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and Cameroun. Others are Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.
Peking University is one of the few universities in China that have set up a centre specifically for African studies starting in 1998.
It is an integrated, trans-disciplinary and cross-department institution for African studies whose mission includes organizing and coordinating African studies, holding seminars and lectures as well as assisting in fostering Master and PhD students.
The African Studies also provides consultation and personnel training on and off the campus as well as organizing and promoting various domestic and overseas academic exchange programmes.