By Soni Daniel, Abuja
The Chinese Government will continue to give priority attention to the development of education in Nigeria in addition to the support and promotion of other programmes and projects to deepen the diplomatic and economic relationship between the two nations.
Mr. Zhao Yong, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, made the declaration in Abuja while presenting cash and materials awards to outstanding Nigerian students and teachers to mark October 1st China-Nigeria friendship.
The Oct 1st award to the teachers and students in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is the third event of its kind in 2020, and the 15th in the “Oct. 1st Award” series, which started in 2018.
A total of N6 million was doled out by the Chinese government on the occasion with each of the 12 FCT middle schools going home with N500,000 while 120 students drawn from 12 FCT schools smiled home with N10,00 each.
Twenty four teachers adjudged to be outstanding in the federal capital were also rewarded with N20,000 each while some schools were rewarded with teaching facilities by the embassy of China.
The award, which was earlier presented to employees of indigenous Nigerian employees of the local Chinese Companies and 49 students in the University of Abuja is in commemoration of China’s National Day and Nigeria’s Independence Day, both of which are on Oct 1st.
At the ceremony, the Charge d’Affaires described 2020 as the year of the completion of China’s poverty alleviation tasks with no fewer than 90 million Chinese lifted out of poverty in the last eight years nand 800 million in the past four decades.
Mr. Zhao pointed out that education has been the major key that China has used in taking its citizens out of poverty and promised to continue to promote education exchange between China and Nigeria in order to assist the latter in accelerating its poverty reduction.
Zhao said: “I hope all the beneficiaries will keep up the constant efforts and excel in your teaching and learning. I sincerely wish you all success in the future.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Li Xuda, Director of the China Cultural Center in Abuja, said the future of a country is to a large extent dependent on education, adding that there is the need to pay more attention to the education sector.
Also speaking, Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad, Chairman of the FCT Secondary Education Board, appreciated the Chinese government for its unrelenting support to schools in the FCT and across the country.
Muhammad said the FCT Secondary School Education Board is happy celebrating 15 years of cooperation with the Chinese Embassy which has been of mutual benefit to the two parties.
He said that the partnership has further promoted cultural and educational exchanges between Nigeria and China, and has strengthened bilateral relations.
Mrs Fatima Baba. Director, Co-Curricular of the Board, said the Chinese Embassy has been of immense support to the growing educational sector in Nigeria and urged other Embassies to show their support.
One of the beneficiaries of the award, Ms Esther Okoye of the Government Secondary School, Asokoro, appreciated the Embassy for recognizing their efforts.
Okoye said the award will spur her to work harder and strive for more academic excellence.