Three hundred and ten Ghanaian students have been awarded full scholarships by the Chinese government to further their education in various universities in China.
It is the highest number of scholarships to be offered to any country this year.
The beneficiaries will pursue undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate degrees in public administration, agriculture, architecture, information and communications technology (ICT), environmental engineering, traditional Chinese medicine, among other disciplines, at the Peking, Tsinghua and other universities.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, who presented the scholarships to the beneficiaries in Accra last Friday, said the gesture was a testament to China’s commitment to develop Ghana's human resource.
He said Ghana and China shared the belief that investing in education was important for the accelerated development of Ghana, noting that as of last year, 6,475 Ghanaian students were studying in China, while 1,329 study visas were issued to Ghanaians in the same year.
“This is proof of the cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and China. The Chinese Embassy will continue to support Ghanaian students to study in China,” Mr Wang added. Opportunities
The Ambassador said Chinese education opened a new world of opportunities to students and, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the scholarships to build their capacities in their respective fields of study.
“You are in the best years of your lives and your passion, self-confidence and unyielding strength represent the source of the national spirit of Ghana. You are the future of Ghana, the future of China-Ghana friendship and the future of the world,” he added. Significance of education
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said “education is the shortest route between deprivation and opportunity and a vital tool by which a nation can lift its citizens from poverty to industrial growth”.
He said that underpinned the government's commitment to provide free senior high school (SHS) education, promote the education of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country.
He expressed the hope that the beneficiaries of the scholarships would return home with enhanced skills to drive Ghana’s economy through innovation, science and technology.
“I encourage you to embrace this as an exciting new chapter in your lives, a chapter of exploration, opportunities and promise. Do your best to tap into the rich history of China, their incredible talents and dynamic passion to succeed, so you can come back and contribute to the development of this nation,” Dr Opoku Prempeh added.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Albert Yankey, advised the beneficiaries to respect the laws of China and be good ambassadors of Ghana during their stay.
Representatives of past and new beneficiaries of Chinese scholarships, Mr Timothy Karikari and Ms Jamila Jakalia, said the knowledge they acquired from Chinese institutions had impacted positively on their lives.
One of the beneficiariess, Ms Gertrude Owusu Konadu, a civil servant who will pursue a master's degree programme at the Sunyat-Sen University in Guangzhou in the Guandong Province of China, expressed her excitement at the honour done her and pledged to return to Ghana to help develop the country on completion of her course.