A Chinese firm has availed funds for Zimbabwean students to enroll at Ocean University of China following a Memorandum of Understanding to fund the learners under the Presidential Scholarship Scheme.
The first batch of 50 students was welcomed at the university campus in Qingdao recently by Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group and university officials.
Zimbabwean Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Dr Christopher Mushohwe, who is also the executive director of the Presidential Scholarship Department in the Office of the President and Cabinet, also attended the function.
The enrollment will be increased to 100 students per year from next year under the MOU signed between Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group officials and the Zimbabwean government last year.
The group became the first private company to partner the Zimbabwean government in funding the Presidential Scholarship Scheme, which has benefited more than 20 000 underprivileged students since its inception in 1995.
The students were mainly being sent to South African universities and the 50 students are the first batch to be sent to China under the scholarship scheme.
Speaking at the welcome ceremony, Dr Mushohwe thanked Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group for sponsoring the students, indicating that the firm already has some projects in Zimbabwe.
“Due to financial difficulties being experienced by Zimbabwe emanating from the effects of economic sanctions imposed by America and Europe, this important programme was heavily affected and heading for discontinuation,” he said.
“The timely intervention by the Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group is a God sent blessing. Your offer of this scholarship to meet the educational needs of the beneficiaries of the programme is most welcome.”
Western countries imposed illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe after the country embarked on land reform in 2000, which took land from white settlers and redistributed it to the majority indigenous people.
Dr Mushohwe said after graduating, the students would take up posts with the Zimbabwean government related China-Zimbabwe cooperation.
He invited more Chinese firms to invest in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with natural resources and this is why we want the Chinese to come and partner with us in exploiting those resources,” said Dr Mushohwe.
The Presidential Scholarship Scheme was established by President Mugabe to cater for poor, disadvantaged and orphaned students who could not proceed to university.
In selecting the students, President Mugabe insists on equitable distribution between boys and girls, fair distribution among the eight rural provinces and targeting poor beneficiaries.
The concept of the Presidential Scholarship Scheme started soon after Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, with an internal programme being spearheaded by President Mugabe.
President Mugabe, who was Prime Minister by then, offered three of his offices under a study programme to assist newly appointed commanders of the army and government ministers who left school mid-stream to join the liberation struggle.
Under the programme, President Mugabe taught the officials law for those studying for degrees and economics at high school level.
source:en.people.cn|19 September 2016