Seven Jamaicans have been awarded scholarships by the Chinese government to pursue their studies in bachelor's and master's degrees at various universities in China.
The group, which includes Karaleise Johnson, Gayson Phillips, Gleniece Irving, Keisha Atterbury, Tashay Wright, Jhodi Bennett and Gabriel Telfer, received their official documents yesterday during a handing over ceremony at the Chinese Embassy residence in Kingston.
Irving expressed gratitude for the opportunity to pursue her master's in environmental hygiene at Shandong University in China.
"It is a full scholarship and I am grateful. I always wanted to do my master's, but I couldn't have done it now if it weren't for this scholarship," she told The Gleaner.
"I know that it is a different experience in China, but I am willing to go and take on the challenge and, at the same time, do my best in obtaining the degree that I have been offered the scholarship to pursue," she added.
Irving pledged that upon completion, her plans are to return to Jamaica to contribute to the development of the country.
encouragement for scholars
Xia GuoShun, political counsellor at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, congratulated the scholars and encouraged them to make good use of the opportunity to accomplish their educational goals.
He said it was a special year for the scholarship programme this year, as it comes at a time when both China and Jamaica are enjoying 40 years of diplomatic relationships.
"Obviously, education is a very important part in the two countries. Up to now, the Chinese government has provided more than 100 government scholarships to Jamaican students to study in China. These students who study in China and come back to Jamaica are now either doctors, engineers or professors, and I do believe the students here today will be good messengers between the two countries," he said.
"Chinese people want to learn from Jamaicans and Jamaicans also want to learn from the Chinese, so it is a channel for us to learn from each other," he added.
The Chinese government scholarship, which started in 2007, is open for persons in the fields of science and engineering.