- Bilateral cooperation in education between Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China has advanced significantly since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1972.
- China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Dong Xiaojung, said over 600 Jamaicans have either been awarded scholarships to study or participated in training programmes in the Asian country.
- Chinese nationals have also benefitted, with six sports coaches receiving scholarships awarded by the Government of Jamaica, to study at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports in St. Catherine.
Bilateral cooperation in education between Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China has advanced significantly since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1972.
China’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Dong Xiaojung, said over 600 Jamaicans have either been awarded scholarships to study or participated in training programmes in the Asian country over the 42-year association.
Another 11 students have been awarded scholarships this year, and are scheduled to depart the island “very soon”, he said, while adding that “a significant number of Jamaican teachers will be teaching English in China.”
Ambassador Dong was speaking at the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Palisadoes Park headquarters of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), which will facilitate the introduction of a Chinese language training programme at the institution.
He noted that Chinese nationals have also benefitted, with six sports coaches receiving scholarships awarded by the Government of Jamaica, to study at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports in St. Catherine.
This gesture, he said, was extended by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, during her visit to China in August 2013. He advised that all six coaches recently completed their training courses and graduated from the college.
Ambassador Dong also highlighted the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in St. Andrew in 2009.
The non-profit educational institution seeks to, among other things, promote the Chinese language and culture, and is the first such established in the Caribbean. It was officially opened by then Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping, during a state visit to the island.
“The Confucius Institute has expanded and now it has four affiliated classes in high schools, familiarizing Jamaican students and the general public with Chinese culture. The institute has really become a bridge for mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Jamaica peoples,” the Ambassador pointed out.
He said there have also been exchanges between Education Ministry officials from both countries, with Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites visiting the Asian country in 2013, and China’s Vice Minister, Du Zhanyuan, reciprocating in June, this year.
Ambassador Dong said Rev. Thwaites’ visit to his country was “fruitful”, which led to the signing of a cooperative MoU when Vice Minister Du visited in June.
In addition to the increased cooperation in education, the Ambassador pointed to advances in bilateral trade, and economic and technical cooperation, active cultural and sports exchange, and mutual support in international affairs.
“I am confident that the China-Jamaica people exchange and education cooperation will (yield for) you high (dividends) in the future, (through) our joint efforts,” Ambassador Dong stated.
In his remarks, Transport, Works, and Housing Minister, who has portfolio responsibility for the CMI, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, noted that various agreements, which successive Jamaican governments have entered into with China have been fulfilled.
“The range of areas of cooperation and agreements, which we are signing is expanding…and on behalf of the government, we say thanks,” he stated.
Under the MoU, the curriculum for nearly 2,000 students enrolled at the institute will be expanded, come September, to incorporate the delivery of instruction in Mandarin, the official standard dialect of China.
The initiative will see two lecturers from the Confucius Institute in China being seconded to the CMI to administer the programme.