Twenty-two young ni-Vanuatu men and women were awarded Chinese government scholarships to study at universities in China at an awarding ceremony at the Chinese Embassy in Port Vila on Saturday.
They received their scholarship awards from the Chinese Ambassador, Liu Quan, witnessed by the Minister of Education, Jean-Pierre Nirua.
The ceremony was attended by the staff of the Ministry of Education — especially the Scholarships Unit, parents, relatives, and guardians of the scholarship awardees, and some members of the Chinese government scholarships alumni who were guests of the Chinese Ambassador and his staff.
Under the award, the Chinese Government is funding the tuition fees, accommodation, and traveling costs within China for study and the Vanuatu government is paying for the airfares to China and back home at the end of their studies after five to six years.
This year’s selection of 22 students mainly from Malapoa College, Port Vila Central School and the USP Emalus campus was from a list of 100 students who applied.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador said the selection is becoming very competitive. He said last year the Embassy hosted a small ceremony at the Ambassador’s residence at Tasariki in Port Vila for 13 awardees.
On Saturday the ceremony was bigger, for 22 awardees of the Chinese government scholarships with over 100 people attending.
“The hosting of this occasion is significant because it is the first ceremony after the opening of the Embassy building,” Ambassador Liu said. This was just over a week ago.
He appealed to the students to go to China and come back and contribute develop Vanuatu.
“Students, you are not going there for nothing, but try your best, learn, make friends and come back and contrite build our relations between China and Vanuatu.” He also urged the students to learn the mandarin language.
He said last year 200 went to China under the China-Vanuatu relations funded by the Chinese government and took courses and as of July, the number for this year has exceeded 200.
On behalf of the Vanuatu government, the Minister of Education congratulated the winners of the Chinese government scholarships awards and the expressed the gratitude of the government to the Chinese Ambassador and government.
To the scholarships awardees Mr. Nirua said: “What the Vanuatu government expects is excellence – in the way you perform, behave, with respect to the hosts with the Vanuatu values of kindness and friendship and be good ambassadors for the country while you’re in China.”
Words of encouragement to the students were given by two Chinese government scholarship alumni members, Reginald Garoleo and Rebecca Bogiri.