SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 By Samuel Ben Turay
Some 30 Sierra Leonean students are due to depart the country tomorrow (3 September) to pursue further studies in the People’s Republic of China as part of the yearly Chinese scholarship program.
Speaking at a farewell ceremony for the students at the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone over the weekend, Political Counselor, Fan Xiaodong, said the students would be going to various universities in China to pursue diverse courses.
He said that since both countries established diplomatic relations some 43 years ago, they have maintained good bilateral relations as “brothers, friends and partners”, and have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in many areas including but not limited to politics, economy, culture, education, and agriculture.
“The Chinese and Sierra Leoneans always treat each other sincerely and help each other heartily,” he said. “Since the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the Chinese government and its people shared the same feelings with the Sierra Leone government and its people.”
He said China has provided two batches of emergency medical material aid valued at 11 million Yuan (1.8 million USD) to Sierra Leone to help the government contain the Ebola outbreak.
“China’s assistance to Sierra Leone once again demonstrated the friendly sentiments and the concrete support from the Chinese government and people,” he said, adding that “in China there is an old saying, ‘it is better to teach a man how to fish than give fish to him’.
As well as providing substantial assistance to boost the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone, China also helps the country nurture much-needed talents. To date, China has provided almost 5,000 scholarships to Sierra Leone.
“Many of these graduates are currently active in various fields of the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone, making great contribution to Sierra Leone’s development and China-Sierra Leone friendship,” he said
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Milton Pearce Mansaray thanked the Chinese government for the gesture and revealed that he is one of the beneficiaries of the Chinese scholarship scheme. “Go and come back home to contribute to the development of Sierra Leone,” he encouraged the awardees.
On behalf of the Sino-Sierra Leone Alumni Association, Dr. Abdulai Maxim Konjoh spoke about the importance of studying in China: “You are going to meet with different people from all parts of the world, but you must always try to put Sierra Leone at the top as we did.”