NN52, August 2015

Trends of China’s Aid to African Education
Pages 133-135

Key words: China’s education aid; diversity; amount increasing; multilateralism; commitment fulfillment

Summary: China’s financial aid to African education has been continuously increasing, in diversity and scope, and it has begun to rely on multilateral mechanisms. China has fulfilled its aid commitments to African education, but it still lacks detailed official statistical analysis on its funding data.

As a developing country, China always provides assistance as much as possible to other developing countries. As Africa has most of the developing countries, it receives a great proportion of China’s aid. From 2010 to 2012, China’s financial aid to Africa made up 51.8% of the total.Besides, China’s aid to Africa education has been increasing, and the commitments are better implemented than expected; so its efforts are being recognized by African countries.

I. Government scholarshipmore quota and increased amount

1. Scholarship Quota
Over the period of the FOCAC conferences from 2006 to 2012, it had increased scholarships by 291% in these 8 years. In other words, the number of Africa scholarship students in China had risen from 2000 in 2006 to 7821 in 2014, as the table shows.

So, the Chinese government has been increasing its government scholarships for African countries.

2. Scholarships Amount
Here we look at the detail of Chinese government scholarships (Full Scholarship) as an example:

The scholarship regulations in 2015 provide exemption from registration fee, tuition fee, fee for laboratory experiment, fee for internship, fee for basic learning materials,intramural accommodation and comprehensive medical insurance and inter-country transportation costs; the scholarship also provides a stipend for  the students. Here are the stipend levels for different academic categories (in RMB):

II. Human resource trainingThe amount has been expanding, and the level has been improved

Chinese government had established 10 education aid bases in Chinese universities in the early 2000s. Under the schemes of FOCAC, “China provides many different kinds of scholarships, training and seminar programs, which cover many different fields, including agriculture, industry, health education, communication, media, science and technology, disaster prevention and mitigation, administration”.

1.Training amount: from 2004 to 2006, China  trained more than ten thousand people under the program of “Africa Human Resources Development Fund”. In 2006,at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, China committed to train 15 thousand personnel in different areas in 3 years;. In 2009, at the 4th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, China declared that it would train 20 thousand people in the next 3 years, including 1500 principals and teachers, 2000 agriculture technicians and 3000 medical staff. In 2012, at the 5th conference, Chinese government further proposed “training 30 thousand personnel from different areas from 2013 to 2015”.2 On the training fund, for those 21-day training courses in China, except for the transportation cost, it also spends 25 thousand yuan for each person.

2. Training level: Since 2008, Chinese Ministry of Education and Ministry of Commerce set up the project of “training postgraduates for developing countries”, assisting African countries to cultivate talents, and meeting their diversity requirements in human resource training. So far, in this project, China has trained 336 students coming from 40 African countries. So far, this project has set up four majors, including public administration, education, international communication and international relations, and these are offered by Peking University, Tsinghua University, East China Normal University, Sun Yat-San University, Communication University of China, China Foreign Affairs University, and other national first-class universities. “Sharm el Sheikh Action Plan(2010-2012)” indicated that, in 3 years, China would  recruit 200 African senior administrative staff for MPA degree. With the support of the Ministry of Commerce, Zhejiang Normal University will implement “2015-2017 Developing Countries’ Masters Degree in Comparative Education”, and it’s mainly aimed at African countries. it will recruit about 30 students per year, and these students will receive full scholarship. In “Sharm el Sheikh Action Plan”,China committed that it would accept 100 African Postdoctoral students coming to China for academic research. 

III. Assistance fields gradually expanded, and coverage gradually enriched

1. Promoting university cooperation. In 2010, the “20+20 Cooperation between China and Africa University Program” started smoothly. In this program, 20 pairs of Chinese and African universities carried out the cooperation actively by one to one interaction. The forms of cooperation include the exchange of students and scholars, joint researches, faculty and management staff trainings and curriculum development, etc. Many pairs of the cooperating universities have established joint laboratories, joint research centres and Confucius Institutes. In order to expand the cooperation of two paired universities into a comprehensive, wide-ranging and multi-form partnership, the Chinese Ministry of Education has given strong support to these institutions; which includes project funding, more scholarships, teacher training, student exchanges, the establishment of Confucius Institutes, Chinese teacher training, Chinese summer camps, etc.

2. Jointly establishing Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms. From 2005, when the first  Confucius Institute was established in Kenya, to mid-2015, the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) has established almost 40 Confucius Institutes and 7 primary and secondary Confucius Classrooms in 28 countries in Africa. The Confucius Institutes turned towards universities and colleges, secondary and primary schools, communities and businesses in providing ways of teaching Chinese language, launching vocational training, and promoting Chinese culture. In addition, the Confucius Institute Scholarships to Africa have been increased year by year, and this has put more efforts into training local teachers of Mandarin in Africa. Until now, Hanban has provided 951 scholarships to Africa.3

3. Dispatching volunteers. By the end of 2012, China had dispatched 408 volunteers to 16 African countries, including Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and so on. These volunteers have worked in the fields of Chinese language teaching, health care, information technology, agricultural science and technology, international relief and other areas.4

4. Aiding through building schools, and donating teaching facilities. In 2006, China promised to aid 100 African rural schools in 3 years in the FOCAC. In 2009, China committed to continue its assistance by building 50 China-Africa friendship schools. In addition, China also provided teaching equipment to another 72 primary and secondary schools.

5. Setting up technology demonstration centers, and dispatching technical trainers. Here are two examples: in April 2011, Rwanda Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center was built, with a total area of 22.6 hectares. This Centre is currently the largest agricultural technology training base with the most complete facilities in Rwanda. From 2001 to 2012, China and Ethiopia jointed together to develop vocational and technical education and training in agricultural, and China has sent more than 400 people to Ethiopia, and has trained 1800 teachers for local agricultural vocational college and 35,000 agricultural technicians.

IV. Assistance mechanism: From bilateralism to multilateralism

China actively supported the capacity building of “The New partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)”. Over the years, China provided two million dollars to support the Nurse and Midwife Training program, which was one part of NEPAD.

According to the “5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference from 2012, China will provide 600 million RMB grant aid for the African Union over 3 years, which showed China’s strong support for African integration, unification and self- improvement but it also displayed that China had begun to attach more importance to multilateral mechanisms. Another promise from Chinese government also displayed the emphasis on multilateral mechanisms. It said that China would provide $2 million every year to support African education under the framework of UNESCO Trust Fund.So far, China has aided $8 million.

China not only provides a lot of funds for African education but also tries to make some innovation. However, the statistical analysis of general funds for African education provided by China cannot easily be found in official websites like that of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Commerce. China’s assistance to African education has multiple aiding bodies, diverse methods, extensive fields, and these would make for some difficulty in data collection and analysis. However it can be anticipated that a reasonable effort to make statistical analysis will be undertaken, which could well be the next focus of China’s cooperation with Africa.

Notes / References:

1. The Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. (2014). China’s Foreign Aid (2014) White Paper. Beijing.

2. FOCAC. (2012). “5th FOCAC Ministerial Conference—Peking Action Plan (2013-2015)”. Beijing. Retrieved from: http://www.focac.org/eng/dwjbzjjhys/t954620.htm

3. Division of International Cooperation and Exchanges of Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. (2013). “To Implement FOCAC Initiative and Enhance the Assistance to African Education”. Beijing.

4. The Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. (2013). “Sino-Africa economic and trade cooperation (2013)”. Beijing.

5. Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. (2012). China’s Aid to Africa. Retrieved from: http://images.mofcom.gov.cn/yws/201304/yws_1304.pdf

To cite this article:

Wan, X. (2015). Trends of China’s Aid to African Education. NORRAG News, 52, 133-135. Retrieved from: http://www.norrag.org/fileadmin/Full%20Versions/NN52.pdf