By Foday Moriba Conteh
As part of deepening the bi-lateral relationship between Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ambassador Wang Qing has on Wednesday 13th December, 2023 awarded scholarships to pupils from different institutions under the 2023 Chinese Ambassadors’ Grant Recipients ceremony. The ceremony, held at the Chinese Embassy on Spur Road in Freetown, was attended by esteemed guests, including the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Conrad Sackey and the Deputy Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs Hindowa Buakai Bindi.
In his remarks, Ambassador Wang Qing warmly congratulated all the recipients of the Chinese Ambassador’s Grant, recognizing their academic achievements before presenting the grant which he pointed out was a form of acknowledgment for their academic excellence and an incentive for continued success.
The Ambassador emphasized the importance of education further stating that it plays a crucial role in the development and progress of any nation.
With the holiday season approaching, Ambassador Wang Qing also maintained that the grant also serves as both a Christmas and New Year gift from the Chinese Embassy to the recipients for Christmas, expressing gratitude to Minister Sackey, Deputy Minister Bindi, and their Ministries for their support and collaboration in organizing the event.
Ambassador Wang Qing highlighted the significance of education in China’s development, detailing the country’s commitment in making education a key national strategy since its foundation in 1949.
He noted the comprehensive policy system implemented to support students, emphasizing awards, loans, grants, part-time allowances, supplements, and exemptions.
The Ambassador commended Sierra Leone for its notable achievements in education, referencing the implementation of the “Free Quality Education” flagship program under the leadership of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.
He also mentioned the enactment of the Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act 2023 and the significant increase in enrolment and pass rates in the West African Senior Secondary School Examination (WASSCE) he acknowledged as milestones that will contribute to Sierra Leone’s development.
Ambassador Wang Qing shared inspiring stories of individuals who, through education, made significant contributions to their fields, such as Professor Yuan Longping in China and Hon. Chief Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh in Sierra Leone. He emphasized the role of education in personal fulfillment and highlighted success stories that exemplify the transformative power of learning.
He maintained that over the past two decades, China has been a key partner in Sierra Leone’s education sector, providing scholarships, training opportunities, and establishing educational institutions such as the Confucius Institute.
According to him, in 2023 alone, 155 Sierra Leonean students received full scholarships to study in Chinese Universities, contributing to the over 1,200 Sierra Leone students who have benefited from Chinese scholarships in the past two decades.
Ambassador Wang Qing concluded by encouraging the grant recipients to seize the opportunities available to them, study diligently and contribute to the development and prosperity of the country. He expressed hope for the recipients to become future contributors to China-Sierra Leone friendship and bilateral relations.
He extended holiday greetings to all attendees and wished them success in the coming year.
On his part, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Conrad Sackey, expressed appreciation to the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone for the kind gesture saying he considers such as very important in helping the students to learn.
He expressed gratitude for the numerous support Sierra Leone has received from the People’s Republic of China of which he noted that the award of scholarships to pupils from different institutions, under the 2023 Chinese Ambassadors’ Grant Recipients ceremony, is a testament of their commitment towards deepening the bi-lateral relationship between Sierra Leone and the People’s Republic of China.
Conrad Sackey encouraged recipients to make very good use of the opportunity describing them as very lucky to receive such a support.
The Deputy Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Hindowa Buakai Bindi, also joined other speakers to applaud the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone for awarding the selected pupils with the 2023 Chinese Ambassadors’ Grant.
He urged parents of the recipients to ensure that they continue to give good parenting to their children.
Hindowa Buakai Bindi concluded by reaffirming Government’s commitment towards creating an enabling environment for children in the country.
Closing the ceremony was the official presentation of the grants to the deserving pupils by the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ambassador Wang Qing, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Conrad Sackey and The Deputy Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Hindowa Buakai Bindi