The diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have continued to be strengthened in all important sectors since both countries established diplomatic relations in February 1971 especially in the area of education.
In recent times, China has demonstrated commitment in the field of education with massive investment in school infrastructure and learning materials in schools within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other parts of the country at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels as both nations continue the people-to-people relations in the field of education.
On Friday December 10, 2021 the Chinese Embassy in Abuja presented awards worth over two million naira to fifty excellent pupils and twenty outstanding teachers of the China Assisted Model Primary School, Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
The fifty pupils were given twenty thousand naira each while the twenty teachers were given fifty thousand each under the China-Nigeria friendship award.
Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun, said that education remains the bedrock for development of every country that is why the Chinese government has done a lot in developing the Nigerian education sector under the auspices of China-Nigeria friendship.
He said that the award to the China Assisted Primary School, like assistance from the Embassy to other schools, is a way to encourage excellent students and teachers to become better.
“2021 is a very special year which marks the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between China and Nigeria. On this occasion, one word I want to focus on is friendship.
“In the past, the Chinese Embassy and Chinese Companies in Nigeria built new classrooms, did maintenance work for those old rooms and toilets, and donated computers which are badly needed by students,” he said.
He said further that “today, we bring with us new items with a wish that they will be able to help the teachers in their teaching, help the students in their studies and contribute to the development of school.
“As we all know, education is the hope for the development of a country. When the youths are educated, then the country is educated.
“When the youth are strong then the country is strong. Looking around the world, those countries that are strong are strong and advanced in education,” Cui said.
Dr Sule Hassan, Chairman, FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) appreciated the Chinese Embassy for their continuous support towards developing the education sector of the FCT.
Hassan, who was represented by Hajiya Habiba Aliyu-Barau, Director, Primary School Service, FCT UBEB said the scholarship will go a long way in positively touching the lives of the pupils and teachers.
“China has been of great assistance to Nigeria, we know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the first country to assist Nigeria and we pray other countries emulate China,” Hassan said.
In November, the Chinese Embassy also gave scholarship awards to 49 students of the University of Abuja even as Ambassador Jianchun tasked the authorities of the University and its students to be at the forefront in finding solutions to the developmental challenges facing Nigeria in order to set the nation on the path to prosperity.
China appears more committed to assist Nigeria boost education, which is an instrument with which it defeated extreme poverty between 1978 and 2020, when the Asian giant lifted about 1 billion people out of extreme poverty.
Today, courtesy of the education of its citizens, China is the second largest economy in the world.
China invested hugely in science, technology, innovation and human capital, which have turned the country into the manufacturing hub of the world with massive production of goods that have become competitive in the global markets.
The Chinese experience holds a lot of lessons for the Nigerian government and stakeholders in the education sector to emulate the Chinese model of massive investment in the critical sector in order to build citizens equipped with the knowledge to produce goods and services that can compete globally.
China’s assurance of a shared future in prosperity with Nigeria and other African countries under the platform of Forum For China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) can only make sense if Nigeria takes education seriously with focus on Science Technology and Innovation.
This is the assurance of the future for the Nigerian school system but it must surmount all the encumbrances against progress.