China opens up more scholarships for African students

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—A senior educationist in Yunnan province of China is urging African students interested in furthering their education to consider applying for scholarships and school places in her province as there are many universities offering international studies  there.

And a Chinese former University of Zambia student has pledged to introduce Yunnan province to Zambian scholars by writing columns in local newspapers with the view to encourage prospective students have a wider choice of educational advancement.

International Exchange and Cooperation Division Deputy Director of Education Department of Yunnan province, Wang Tao has urged African countries to open up links with Yunnan province in order to enhance the Yunnan- Africa education level which she said is underutilized.

Ms Wang told African scribes who visited Yunnan province recently that statistics of 2013 indicated that there were only 69 African students pursuing their studies in the 69 universities of Yunnan province, a figure she described to be far below the number of African scholars studying in other provinces of China.

“The education cooperation and exchange between Yunnan, China and African countries is limited compared to other parts of China,” said Ms Wang.

“We need more African students in our province as this will help enhance our bilateral relations with African countries and make known to the continent and the outside world what Yunnan province can offer in education, business, agriculture, tourism and other economic activities,” she added.

She also stated that the 69 African students were from 22 African countries namely: Algeria, Burundi, Cameroun, Chad, Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

The International Exchange and Cooperation Division Deputy Director also disclosed that among the 69 African students, four were from Zambia.

Ms Wang outlined some of the universities in Yunnan province as Yunnan University, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Yunnan Normal University, Yunnan University of Ethnic Nationalities, Yunnan Medical University as some of the learning institutions with high reputation among the people of  Yunnan China and also good destinations for international scholars.

She said Yunnan province stakeholders will use every opportunity to sale the province to the outside world and education exchanges are among the avenues for the exercise.

Ms Wang has since called on all African education institutions interested in learning Chinese and other cultural exchanges to come on board, adding that the hosting of the workshop on Joint Training in Mineral Resource Exploration between China and some African countries scheduled to be held in Kunming from 5th to 8th September 2014 will be utilized for this course.

Zambia, Rwanda and Cameroun are some of the African countries invited for the workshop which will have 23 African representatives.

And former PHD candidate between China and Zambian government, Zhao Shulan said as a way of ploughing back the knowledge acquired from the University of Zambia, she intends to highlight more about China and Yunnan province in particular to the Zambian scholars with the view to give them relevant information on requirements on international studies by submitting articles in the local newspapers of Zambia.

Ms Zhao who is now an Associate Professor and Assistant Director at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences was a University of Zambia (UNZA) student who studied History of Africa, Southern Africa History and Philosophy of History at the Lusaka campus from 2008 to 2009.

Prof Zhao said students on self-sponsorship can apply to any university of their choice in Yunnan province while those that are seeking Chinese government sponsorship cannot choose a university as the ministry of education is the determining authority in this case.

Prof Zhao who still has fresh memories about Zambia remembers the likes of Professor Mwelwa Musambachime also paid tribute to her former Supervisor Dr. Webby Kalikiti who she said taught her how to carryout field work on Japanese Aid to Zambia, adding that she would like to see many Zambian students advancing their education in China as well.

Yunnan province is situated in the Southwest frontier of China, neighbouring Guizhou province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on the East, Sichuan province on the North and Tibet autonomous region on the Northwest.

On the international frontier, Yunnan borders Myanmar on the West, Laos and Vietnam on the South, covering an area of 394,000 square kilometres which is equivalent to 4.1 percent the Chinese land.