Thirty-two South African students will soon be coming to China to study for Bachelor's, Master's and Doctor's programs in 17 academic majors on scholarships provided by the Chinese Government.
During a send-off event held in Pretoria on August 16, Lin Songtian, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, has urged the students to be the champion for China-South Africa friendship.
"South Africa now faces major opportunities in its economic and social transformation and has huge demand for professional and skilled personnel. We hope that upon finishing your studies, you will return to serve your country and your people to contribute to South Africa's development," he said.
He added that people-to-people exchange has become an important part of bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. "Our cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, health, youth and women continues to expand and prosper, greatly enhancing the mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples," he said.
Isasiphinkosi Mdingi, 24, from the Eastern Cape province is scheduled to leave for China on September 2 to pursue her master's degree in Public Administration in Beijing.
She said that she would use the opportunity to ensure that more women would play a meaningful role in the mainstream economy.
"This opportunity means a lot of things to me," Mdingi said, "This shows that your dreams are possible and secondly your destiny is never tied to your background which is my favourite quote. This means that dedication and hard work can pay off. I will be looking at how China has been able to ensure that women play a big role in the economy."
Wendy Adams from the Higher Education and Training Department said that the program continues exposing many young people to numerous opportunities.
"We annually receive scholarships from the Chinese government and it covers student tuition, accommodation, stipend and medical aid. Our priority as the department is postgraduate, this means we are increasing the number of PhD graduates. We have an opportunity to import the skills," Adams said.
He added that China is advanced in technology and the students have an opportunity to bring those skills. Some of them are speaking about business opportunities they have found in China.
Established in 2003, the Chinese Government Scholarship Program has helped hundreds of South African students to study in China.
(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2018)