Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
The Chinese, who have increased their presence in Jamaica over recent years, are now looking to cement their cooperation with the country in the field of education.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said his trip to China last week was a success, as they managed to forge agreements that would facilitate a number of knowledge-based exchange programmes.
One of these arrangements is seeking to facilitate the exporting of Jamaican teachers to China's largest city, Shanghai.
"We have begun negotiations with the prefecture of Shanghai for supplying them with teachers of English … . China needs a number of teachers of English, so we would like to fill some of those [spaces] with teachers who are perhaps retired or who are qualified but haven't found jobs here," Thwaites said.
He said the ministry was not yet in a position to disclose the number of possible teachers who would benefit from this programme as the negotiations were still ongoing.
Thwaites said opportunities were also being created for Jamaican educators to boost their skills by attending at least one tertiary institution in China.
"The Eastern University of Shanghai offered to partner with us in reviewing educational policies and particularly helping us in math education," he informed.
The minister said Chinese nationals could also come to Jamaica's universities to receive instruction in English language.
In August, while on a visit to China, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller offered 10 scholarships to Chinese sportsmen, coaches and administrators, tenable at the G.C. Foster College.
Meanwhile, Thwaites said coming out of the discussions last week, an agreement has also been reached to expand the Confucius Institute beyond the gates of the University of the West Indies, Mona, in an effort to teach more students Mandarin.
"We also got the commitment that they would extend their facilities to the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College in Montego Bay, St James, so that students wouldn't have to come to Kingston," he added.