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August 7, 2014
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Increased cooperation in education between Jamaica and China

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 more than 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 , 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 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.

He said there have also been exchanges between education ministry officials from both countries, with Education Minister, Reverend Ronald Thwaites, visiting the Asian country in 2013, and China's Vice-minister Du Zhanyuan, reciprocating in June, this year.

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