, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27- More than 200 Kenyans are this year’s beneficiaries of an ever-growing list of students benefiting from Chinese scholarships, as part of efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries.
The 182 Kenyan students were awarded Chinese Government Scholarship to study in China while 50 are from needy families sponsored to study in local universities under the Ambassador’s Scholarship programme, officials said Tuesday, during a farewell reception at the embassy in Nairobi.
The Chinese Ambassador’s scholarship programme was started in 2013, with the main focus of supporting needy students.
“The Chinese Embassy has been supporting the education institutions of Kenya in a bid to help young Kenyans to pursue their dreams, through different ways,” said Zhao ZiYuan, the Minister Councilor at the Chinese Embassy.
Students awarded are from various public universities, among them The University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Moi University and Egerton University.
“It is impressive to note that these universities have made remarkable progress in academic innovation and international cooperation which makes them stand out. Many times when I visited these universities,” Zhao said.
He said more than 2,400 Kenyan students are now studying in China since 1982 when the Chinese government started offering the scholarships.
“I am sure that you will be performing successfully in your future careers once you complete your studies,” he told the students set to start their journey to China from next week.
The students will be studying in universities across various cities in China where they will undertake various courses.
“I would like to express my best wishes for you as you begin a new chapter in your life,” he said, in his address to the students, while urging them to “Learn extensively, inquire earnestly, think profoundly and practice sincerely.”
He also reminded them of the need to “upholding discipline and remain responsible always.”
“I hope you will become the ambassadors of the friendship between China and Kenya and maintain the spirit of pioneering and innovation, liberate ideas and act positively in building a better tomorrow,” he said.
China is next month set to mark her 70th anniversary since the People’s Republic of China was founded.
“Over the past 70 years, China has made decisive strides to achieve remarkable development and economic growth,” said Zhao, adding that “Education is fundamental to China’s pursuit of national rejuvenation. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, China has made continuous effort in the development of its science and technology education, which have effectively promoted economic and social development of China.”
Tuesday’s event was attended by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba among other guests.
“We are grateful for these scholarships because it is part of what helps to strengthen ties between our two countries,” Namwamba said, “you can see very deliberate landmarks in the partnership between the two countries.”
He said Kenya has a lot to learn from China and particularly how to alleviate poverty by investing in capital development and expansion of the economy.
“That is not possible without learning from the best,” Namwamba said.
Foreign Affairs Political and Diplomatic Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tom Omollo urged Kenyan youth to take advantage of the opportunities offered by China since they are a leader in technology and innovation.
“These are big opportunities. You (the students) are going to be Kenya’s ambassadors. You will carry our values as you interact daily with the people of China, their businesses, fellow students…” he told the students, “I know you will respect the laws of China; their culture and you will not undermine the integrity of the Government of China. You will be our ambassadors.”
The head of the Kenyan Students Association in Beijing Samuel Macharia challenged the students traveling to China to have “an open mind” and cautioned them against violating Chinese laws, saying they will risk being deported.
“You must respect the law, you must do what is right at all times,” said Macharia, a PhD student in Enterprise Management at the University of Science and Technology in China’s capital, Beijing.
Some of the students who spoke to Capital FM News said they are delighted to have received the scholarship.
“I am very happy because I am going to pursue my dream,” one of the students who only gave her name as Muthoni said.
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