The Chinese government was on Thursday lauded for the education support it has been extending to Kenya for the last 40 years.
Speaking during a farewell reception organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi, the Deputy Director for Higher Education in charge of scholarships Dr. David Watene noted that education assistance from Beijing has seen Kenya greatly benefit from highly skilled and competitive manpower in various sectors including engineers, doctors, teachers, businesspeople, diplomats, and hospitality personnel.
“We recognize the contribution of the Chinese scholarship from which over 1000 Kenyans have benefitted. These scholarships over the years have produced qualified personnel in the field of medicine, engineering, teachers, and diplomats amongst others, which are critical to the development of Kenya” he said
He said such initiatives have helped the East African country to reduce educational inequalities by making education more accessible.
“Higher education is critical in producing a pool of highly skilled manpower in various specialized areas necessary for promoting improved productivity for national socio-economic development and carrying out research to provide solutions for societal challenges. Through higher education, knowledge is generated and disseminated,” he said
While reaffirming his country’s commitment to mutual cooperation with Kenya, Minister Counsellor and deputy head of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi Zhang Zhizhong urged the scholarship beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity to study hard and return back and help the country realize its development aspirations.
“You are the future of Kenya. I hope you will come and apply what you have learnt in China and contribute to Kenya’s development as well as further cooperation between China and Kenya for the next 60 years,” he said in an event graced by government officials, diplomats, political leaders, scholars, businessmen and professionals from different fields.
Zhang asked them to observe Chinese way of life which he attributed to the country’s fast-paced development, especially in the last 40 years under the Communist Party of China with an annual growth rate of 9 percent GDP, lifting China from one of the poorest countries to the second-largest economy in the world.
“The Chinese culture must have something valuable and Chinese people must have done something right…I wish you understand the values, experience, the imagination of the Chinese people” he said
Zhang added; “The final goal of economic and social development is for the people’s well-being and happiness. You will understand why the satisfaction rate of the Chinese people with the government could reach more than 91 percent in recent years and topped all the countries of the world,”
His sentiments resonated well with those of the Chairperson of the Kenya China Alumni Association Dr. Henry Rotich who noted that studying in China offers an unparalleled educational experience.
“The country’s (China’s) rapid growth and technological advancements have positioned it as a global leader in innovation and research. By immersing yourselves in this dynamic environment, you gain access to cutting-edge knowledge and the chance to collaborate with world-renowned scholars and experts. Moreover, exposure to diverse perspectives and lifestyles will broaden your horizons and enrich your personal growth,” he said
“Professionals with Chinese educational experiences possess unique skills and insights that can drive innovation, enhance trade relationships, and facilitate diplomatic engagements between our two nations,” he reiterated
Buoyed by the opportunity, Jacob Oloo, a beneficiary of the scholarships, described the gesture from Beijing as an endeavor that fortifies the strong ties between Kenya and China and expressed confidence those awarded scholarships will help transform the country as soon as they complete their pursuit of higher education abroad.
“Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, let us emphasize the importance of knowledge repatriation. You are not just students; you are stewards of change. The wisdom you gain will transcend geographical boundaries, finding its way back to Kenya and the world, where it will serve as a catalyst for progress,” said Oloo
Ambassador Lucy Kiruthu who studied international relations with specialization in international politics in China, encouraged the young scholars to stay on course and give a good account of themselves at the end of their studies.
“I am a proud alumnus of Peking University. I am where I am today because of having studied n China,” she said
Kiruthu added; “What is important is that you are also going to be our ambassadors in China. I will ask you to fly our flag as high as you can,”