By Fredrick P. W. Gaye (People’s Daily Online)
More than 70 Liberians from various professional backgrounds are set to leave for the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the end of August for further studies.
According to information from the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia, 50 beneficiaries of this year’s edition of the Chinese government scholarship program will enroll at various universities across China.
Out of the number, 11 are going to do masters in various disciplines, 28 for military and security training programs and the others for other professional fields, the Embassy says. They were drawn from some government institutions and the public.
In addition to the Chinese government’s bilateral scholarships, more than 20 Liberians are expected to benefit from the Confucius Institute scholarship program. It has been gathered that the number Liberians to go for studies in China this year may exceed 100.
At a farewell reception held honor of the students late Tuesday at the Embassy in Monrovia, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, said the large number this year was in fulfillment of his government’s promise to increase bilateral scholarship slots for Liberians.
Zhang said China attaches great importance to the human resource development of Liberia and so he was happy to see such enthusiastic Liberians going for further studies to contribute to their country’s growth and development.
“The comprehensive partnership between China and Liberia is developing both in scope and depth. Our cooperation in education and human resource is also having an encouraging momentum, prospects and should take a strategic and long-term perspective and push the cooperation to a new level so as to better serve the social economic development of Liberia,” he added.
The Chinese envoy recounted more fruitful results in building a new bridge of friendship and cooperation between Liberia and China; and as a reliable partner, China has and continue to contribute to the educational sector of Liberia.
Speaking further, Zhang said that for the infrastructure projects, China has provided modern educational facilities in Liberia including the Fendell ultra modern campus and laboratories for the University of Liberia (UL), primary schools as well as the extension of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), among others across the country.
He also urged the students to focus on their studies and return home after completing to contribute to their country. He told them they are envoys of Liberia-China friendship as they will see more of China with their own eyes and today a small step of every one of them from Liberia to China symbolizes a great leap in educational cooperation between Liberia and China. “Let’s hold our hands even tighter to strengthen cooperation and march towards brighter prospects with full confidence,” the Chinese diplomat stressed.
During his visit to Liberia last year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated his government’s promise to increase bilateral scholarship slogs to additional 25 slogs thus making the yearly scholarships to 50 slogs. Chinese President Xi Jinping made the announcement during bilateral talks with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Beijing in 2015.
Latest information says the Chinese Embassy has also provided the ‘Chinese Ambassador scholarship’ and ‘Chinese enterprises scholarship’ to highly performing students in Liberia’s universities and colleges.
Also speaking at the occasion was Moibah Johnson, the President of the Liberian Association of Chinese Trained Scholars (LACTS). LACTS is a group of professional Liberians who have benefited from the Chinese educational gestures.
Johnson commended China for its continuous efforts in Liberia’s recovery programs, which said are giving hope to the country shattered by series of devastation.
He admonished the beneficiaries to know the importance of opportunities afforded them by the Chinese Government to take their studies serious.
Since the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two sides in 2003, China has provided more than 300 government scholarships to Liberians in undergraduate, master and doctorate degrees and trained over for 2,400 in other professional fields.
Fredrick P. W. Gaye is the News Editor of In Profile Daily Newspaper in Liberia, a fellow at the China Africa Press Center (CAPC) and an intern at People’s Daily English Online. He can be reached by: firstname.lastname@example.org