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Focussed on education

Greater cross-fertilisation of cultures and the creation of increased opportunities to study and train in China, were the focus of discussion when China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Xu Hong, met with Minister of Education Ronald Jones, at his office, yesterday.

Jones thanked the People’s Republic of China for providing opportunities for Barbadians to study in that country, as three persons were set to take up scholarships in China this year.

The two officials however agreed that increased opportunities for persons to have this “authentic learning experience” should be created not only in higher education, but in the technical/vocational and continuing education fields.

Xu noted that, like Barbados, China placed a high level of importance on education, and stated that cooperative relationships, not only between governments, but linking institutions of education, would prove to be beneficial.

He emphasised that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, had pledge in a recent address to focus on educational and cultural exchanges to develop common understanding and to actively promote inter-civilisation dialogue. To this end, the Premier promised to offer 5000 scholarships to Latin American and Caribbean countries over the next five years.

Jones noted that his ministry had a solid relationship with China since construction companies from that country had undertaken work at sites including the ministry’s present headquarters, the Elsie Payne Complex, the Ellerslie Secondary School and Combermere.

Jones and Xu said they recognised the valuable contribution provided by the existing programmes and courses which facilitate the travel of Barbadians to China for training and academic study.

They also expressed a desire to see this link further strengthened, through the study of Chinese languages, not only at the Barbados Community College, but in the future, at the University of the West Indies.

Also present at the meeting were Permanent Secretary, Cecile Humphrey; Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dr. Roderick Rudder; Education Officer – Planning, Petrona Holder; and Foreign Service Officer, Nicholas Cox.

Barbados and China established diplomatic ties in May 1977.

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