Scholarships for Africans set to double
By Zhu Zhe(China
Updated: 2006-11-03 06:32
Guillaume Moumouni from Benin is studying for a doctorate of
international politics at Peking University in Beijing.
He first came to China in 1990 as an undergraduate student on a Chinese
Government Scholarship. He went on to complete his graduate studies here.
"Each time I came back to China, I always found China had made big progress
both economically and politically," he said.
More African students are expected to arrive, as China plans to double the
quota of Chinese Government Scholarship for African students, a senior official
The number of African students who can enjoy the scholarship may increase
from the existing 2,000 a year to at least 4,000 by 2010, according to Li
Jianmin, deputy secretary-general of China Scholarship Council, an institute
responsible for the organization, management and provision of the scholarships.
Council figures show that China has increased the scholarship quota for
African students from last year's 1,300 to around 2,000, about one fourth of the
total China offers to foreign countries.
Most of them take majors such as physics, electronics, telecommunications,
medicine, agriculture, and computer science in big cities including Beijing,
Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Sponsored students will have their tuition waived and receive a monthly
subsidy ranging from 800 yuan (US$100) to 1,400 yuan (US$175). The scholarship
term varies from one year to seven years.
In 1956 China hosted its first four African students. They were from Egypt,
which established diplomatic relations with China that year. It opened a new
chapter in the history of educational exchanges between China and Africa.
As several African nations gained independence in the 1960s and established
diplomatic ties with China, more students arrived.
African students have also brought to China their unique experiences and
colourful cultures. Li described it as a "win-win situation."
However, while the number of sponsored students is growing rapidly, the
number of those who come to China at their own expenses remains limited.
According to the Ministry of Education, only 1,390 self-funded African students
came last year, accounting for 2 per cent of the total 141,087 foreign students
Money is considered the biggest obstacle, Li said. He reiterated that the
Chinese Government welcomes African students and will offer them more help.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of African students come to China on
scholarships from their home countries. Tanzanian and Rwandan governments signed
agreements with the council last year to set up scholarships for their students
who want to study in China.
Li said such a model would be further promoted, as many African countries
have realized that what students learn in China has practical value, as China
and African countries share many things in common, and the study is more
economical than in Western countries.
Another student from Zambia who came to Beijing last year recalled the
exciting moment when he saw the snow.
"It was my first time to see real snow," Nkuye Moyo said. "I rushed out to
the yard and walked on the snow with only slippers and shorts on. It must have
been the most beautiful moment for many African students like