WITH the total number of Tanzanians benefiting from Chinese scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies reaching 932 by this financial year, the government has said those opportunities have been a catalyst to the country's development.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr Leonard Akwilapo, stated that the Chinese scholarships have been giving opportunities to the government to educate its people to serve in different sectors of priority for the nation, such as health, science and technology, engineering and agriculture.
"We see that it is important to continue strengthening relations between the two countries since China is one of the most developed countries in all spheres, including economy, science and technology. We have so many things to learn from our Chinese brothers and sisters," Dr Akwilapo stated.
He made the statement on Tuesday evening at the Chinese Ambassador Award ceremony in Dar es Salaam, where 122 Tanzanian students and teachers were awarded for their best performance in Chinese language. The ceremony was held at the Chinese Embassy in the city.
A total of 25 students scored best student awards for their mastery of the Chinese language.
One of them, 16-year old John Magongwe from Ilboru Secondary in Arusha emerged in the list of top 30 students in the global Chinese language competition and was positioned at 6th place in Africa.
John studied Chinese language in just two years and became competent in the language.
"It's my hope that this year's awards will motivate students to study Chinese language, a move which cements cultural relations between the countries," he said.
The Permanent Secretary further noted that Tanzania has also been receiving students from China who come into the country to study Kiswahili.
Speaking at the ceremony, China Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Wang Ke said in recent years, the cooperation between Tanzania and China in the education sector has brought a great impact.
She said that in the past five years for instance, the Chinese government has given 1,023 different sponsorships to Tanzanians in mainland and 169 in Zanzibar.
Tanzanian people, particularly the youth, are taught Chinese language and Kiswahili. There are two higher learning institutions in China that have started offering Kiswahili lessons, while there are Chinese students who study Kiswahili at the University of Dar es Salaam every year.
On his part, Prof Liu Yan, Dean of the Confucius Institute at the UDSM, remarked that with support from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, many secondary schools in the country have started teaching Chinese language.
"I believe in the future there will be more and more Tanzanian local teachers teaching Chinese language in schools," Prof Yan stated.