African Scholarships to Chinese Universities

African Scholarships to Chinese Universities

by PD Lawton    27 July 2020

China is offering more university scholarships to African students than all of the wealthiest Western countries combined. The next academic year will see 12,000 African students studying in China.

This follows on from China`s pledge at the FOCAC Summit in 2018 where President Xi Jinping promised 50,000 scholarships from 2018-2021.

The West puts aid money into vocational training while China promotes education for African students in science and technology.

Scholarships aside, China is fast becoming the chosen destination for African students. Today 16% of all foreign students studying in China are from Africa. In 2003 there were fewer than 2000 African students, by 2018 there were over 81,000.

Western cynics of China`s involvement in Africa have labelled the education program `soft power`. Such critics fail to understand the reason for China`s rapid development. For them to grasp the concept of the Belt and Road Initiative is an impossibility as they are cocooned by comfort into a deep ignorance of what poverty means. China sees the Africa-China education program as “skills transfer”. They share their technology with Africa.

The Chinese consider education (and that being with a strong focus on science and technology) the corner stone of national development. It sees education as the cultivating of talents, creativity.

As Dr David Monyae, Director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at Johannesburg University, puts it ” China understands the centrality of education in development”.

Western governments still have a colonial, paternalistic attitude to Africa. The ethos of the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa is to assist Africa in supporting itself. Hence much of the educational focus is on science and technology to increase the number of engineers who will then return to their communities and countries and use their skills in modern agriculture, civil engineering projects, the design and construction of infrastructure etc.

Dr David Monyae said of the importance of China-Africa cooperation in education:

“to ensure that the continent in the next 10-20 years does not depend on external role players to build their own bridges and roads. So Africa is building its own capacity to play a critical role in the making of the Belt and Road Initiative, including its own Agenda 2063. And therefore at the level of coordination, all African countries are prioritizing their developmental needs in doing so.”

Source: CGTN Talk Africa


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