by Mahmoud Fouly
ISMAILIA, Egypt, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Suez Canal University is one of the largest cooperation projects and a model of fruitful educational collaboration between Egypt and China, Atef Aboul-Nour, president of Suez Canal University, told Xinhua in an interview.
"This is seen through the many activities carried out by the university in cooperation with China," he added.
The university chief cited several areas of cooperation between the university and China, including a new joint technological college to be opened soon in the university starting from the academic year 2018/19.
"We will open this year the Egyptian-Chinese Applied Technology College, the first technological college all over Egypt. We hope it will make a quantum leap in the field of technology in the country," Aboul-Nour told Xinhua.
The new college will offer a technical bachelor's degree in three majors: communication technology, electronic technology and mechatronic technology.
The university president added that some 125 outstanding students have already been registered to attend its first academic year, stressing that the establishment of the college is meant to help make up for the shortage of technological and technical talents in Egypt.
Opened in April 2008, Confucius Institute in Suez Canal University also attracts hundreds of Chinese language learners from Ismailia and nearby provinces.
"Confucius Institute is another example of Egyptian-Chinese educational cooperation, as it plays a cultural, educational and enlightening role in the whole Suez Canal region through spreading the Chinese language and culture," the university president said.
The Fish Farming and Technology Institute of Suez Canal University, which was established by a Chinese grant and opened in May 2014, is a main center for the development of fish and aquatic resources sector in the Arab world.
"Since its establishment, the institute has been holding training courses and workshops to spread the fish farming culture in the Suez Canal region," said Aboul-Nour, noting that most workers in the aquaculture field in Egypt have already received training in the institute.
On Wednesday, a 21-day Chinese workshop on fish farming techniques and the production and processing of live aquafeed kicked off in the Suez Canal University with the purpose of bolstering aquaculture techniques in Egypt.
The training course, delivered by Chinese experts in the field, will include theoretical and practical lectures on new techniques for a massive production of live aquafeed, such as algae and zooplanktons, on which fish farming projects are generally based.
Aboul-Nour said that his university staff also pay regular visits to the Chinese companies operating in the Suez Canal region and holds through Confucius Institute training courses on human resources for their Egyptian workers delivered by Egyptian and Chinese experts.
He described the bilateral relations between Egypt and China as "distinguished and deep-rooted," adding that Egypt is a focal point in China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
"Egypt is a prominent country in the Belt and Road Initiative as it is in the middle of Africa, Asia and Europe. It overlooks key maritime routes in the world and its Suez Canal is a vital waterway for most of the Chinese trade heading to Europe," the Suez Canal University president told Xinhua.
Aboul-Nour explained that there are plans for expanding cooperation between his university and the Chinese side, noting that he has recently met with Chinese education officials in China where they agreed to enhance relevant collaboration between the two sides.
"I also visited Nankai University in Tianjin and discussed with the university officials the possibility of issuing joint accredited certificates in various fields," he continued. "We really hope to boost educational cooperation between Egypt and China."
He added that his university attaches a great importance to education and tries to apply all new educational programs, expressing appreciation for the support of China "as it spares no effort in helping us with upgrading the sectors of education and research in our university."
"Cooperation between our university and China is massive and diversified, and we hope it will further increase in the years to come," the university chief told Xinhua.
The university, established in 1976, is located in the Ismailia province northeast of the capital Cairo.