The Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and Chinese Loving Hearts Organisation (CLHO), a charity funded by a Chinese tycoon, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will enable 50 Namibian students to study civil engineering in the People’s Republic of China over the next three years.
The students will undertake their studies at Nantong Vocational University, as the scholarships are fully paid by that university. The NSFAF will cover the cost of flight tickets and monthly stipends.
CLHO agreed to secure funds from China-based sources and any free training and preferential treatment for NSFAF-identified students from the Chinese government and universities.
NSFAF chief executive officer Hilya Nghiwete said they have been working hard to identify potential partners and to mobilise scholarships for Namibians to access tertiary education.
Nghiwete said the role of CLHO is to identify credible institutions that offer critical fields of study, in which Namibia has limited capacity.
Nghiwete explained that in terms of their mode of operation they first consult with the Namibia Qualification Authority to assess whether a particular institution where Namibian students will undertake studies is accredited in the country of origin.
She said they check whether the programme of study that students are about to embark on requires professional registration and then engage the relevant professional bodies, such as the engineering or medical council, to give them an opinion on the likelihood that graduates from those institutions will be absorbed into the market.
Director of CLHO Jack Huang, a businessman in his own right, said their organisation promotes educational development in Namibia to improve the living standards of the disadvantaged. “We like to promote and provide good education and assist Namibian students to have better education,” said Huang.
He said over the past seven years they have sponsored 32 students to study medicine in China. Two of the students have already graduated. “Through the cooperation with NSFAF we would like to provide more universities they can choose from and more courses they can select that suit them best,” Huang said.