Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne (R) in discussion with Premier Li Keqiang during a recent visit to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China
BEIJING, China -- Premier of China Li Keqiang has pledged to support the Antigua and Barbuda government’s thrust in education.
During a meeting with Li, Prime Minister Gaston Browne outlined his government’s plans for developing the education system in Antigua and Barbuda.
He spoke of the plans to transform the Five Islands Secondary School, under construction by the Chinese government into the first phase of the University College of Antigua and Barbuda; the establishment of a Confucius School of Learning; the establishment of a Chinese language programme in secondary schools, which will ultimately lead to mandarin becoming a subject at the Caribbean Secondary Certificate CSEC examination level; and the granting of additional scholarships for young Antiguans and Barbudans to pursue studies abroad.
“Education is one of the most important factors that can ensure that our nation truly becomes an economic powerhouse within the Caribbean. The government of China has been a valuable partner to Antigua and Barbuda in this area and many others and it is my intention to develop our friendship to further benefit both of our peoples,” said Browne.
Li welcomed Browne’s vision for education and outlined that China welcomed new areas of cooperation and will give full support to the efforts to further educate Antiguans and Barbudans.
“China is delighted about the future prospects of our relationship and we view our relations as a model for developing countries. It was your former Prime Minister Lester Bird who once said that Antigua and Barbuda and China has shown the world that large and small countries can build a relationship of mutual respect. China fully believes in this,” Li pointed out.
Li said that his government will support the transformation of the secondary school project into a university and will commence plans for the establishment of the Confucius School and the teaching of mandarin in Antigua and Barbuda. He said that his government will continue to provide scholarships to Antiguans and Barbudans.
Meanwhile, Browne has announced that China has made available three additional scholarships for Masters degrees commencing in September:
1. Masters of Public Administration for Developing Countries at Peking University;
2. Masters of Education Projects for Developing Countries at East China Normal University; and
3. Masters of International Communication Projects for developing countries at the Communication University of China
In addition, Browne said that last week he also received notification from Cuban ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, Gustavo Veliz, that Cuban President Raul Castro has approved additional full scholarships for Antigua and Barbuda following the election of the new government to office.
He said that the scholarships available in Cuba from September are:
1. Five scholarships in medicine
2. Two scholarships in dentistry
3. Five scholarships in the field of agronomy, mathematics, architecture, engineering or childhood education