HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday held
a farewell ceremony for 50 students who are going to undertake
undergraduate studies at a Chinese university.
Studying under the
auspices of the Presidential Scholarship Program whose patron is
President Mugabe, the students are being sponsored by a Chinese
company at a cost of 12 million Chinese yuan (1.8 million U.S.
The students will be
studying at Ocean University of China in east China’s Qingdao
city for the next four years.
Speaking at the
ceremony, President Mugabe thanked the Chinese firm for the
assistance which he said would ensure continuity of the program
which was now facing funding shortages due to economic
challenges in the country.
He said the support
in the education sector signified strong bilateral relations
between the two countries and marked a turning point in the
expansion of the presidential scholarship program to other
countries besides South Africa.
Since its launch in
1995 to assist academically gifted but underprivileged children
in Zimbabwe, the Presidential Scholarship Program has sent
students to study in South Africa only, with about 20,000
Zimbabwean students having benefited so far.
“I am sure this
thrust to China is going to be very important and perhaps one of
the largest thrusts of our scholarship program in the future,”
He said Zimbabwe had
high respect and was confident in the Chinese education system
which had catapulted the country to become the second largest
economy in the world.
to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said education and cultural exchange had
become an integral part of China-Zimbabwe bilateral cooperation,
and pledged more Chinese support to Zimbabwe’s education sector.
Zhongsheng Group Vice President Chen Jian said the company would
in the future increase the number of students that it supports
under the program to 100 per year.
He said the firm was
keen to fund education in Zimbabwe because its corporate culture
resonated with President Mugabe’s commitment to education.
“Each year, we will
provide for 50-100 outstanding Zimbabwean students to study in
China until graduation for the next years,” he said.