by Ndalimpinga Iita
WINDHOEK, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The Namibian Chinese Ambassador Scholarship program is inspiring academic excellence at John Alphons Pandeni Combined School in the Omusati region, northern Namibia.
Elton Iipinge, a grade nine learner at the school, is among the first 10 recipients of the scholarship at the school.
Each learner received an award of 2,000 Namibian dollars (about 135 U.S. dollars) for two years.
Iipinge said that the award helped offset costs and meeting school needs, which he would not have been able to afford. With the award of 2,000 Namibian dollars, Iipinge bought learning resource materials, stationery and school uniform.
"It is an honor to receive such a prestigious scholarship because it had a positive impact on my life. It is the first big award I have received thus far for my hard work," said Iipinge.
This, he said, has inspired him to work harder.
For Carlos Elias, also in grade nine, said he would not have continued excelling in school if it were not for the scholarship fund.
"I was able to buy supplementary study materials, stationery and other school needs, which has contributed greatly to my progression and enabled me to continue being an outstanding learner," he added.
The scholarship program has been a motivating factor to learners at the school, said school principal Simeon Haihambo.
According to Haihambo, thus far, the program has made a positive impact on the future chances of many youngsters at the school.
"Some of the learners come from poor households and at times are unable to afford supplementary material required to excel. Hence, the initiative is commendable," he said.
The scholarship program has also since transformed the learning culture and positive competition amongst learners at the school.
"Ever since other learners witnessed the awarding of the first cohort of beneficiaries in 2018 at the inception of the program, more learners have since doubled their efforts to benefit from the program," added Haihambo.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship recipients are also helping fellow learners meet their aspirations to excel academically.
According to Elias, more learners approach him for tutorials. "As a result, we established a study group to help each other and learning as a school community," he said.
Furthermore, the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship program has also ignited interest in educational opportunities in China and Chinese culture.
Ester Otto, also one of the recipients, said that apart from the honor bestowed upon her (scholarship award), she has grown interested in Chinese culture and educational prospects.
"I am inspired to excel at school so that I can qualify for other funding opportunities that may arise, hopefully, to study in China," she said.
Meanwhile, Otto commended the Chinese Embassy for the motivation and initiating a program geared towards empowering learners in Namibia.
During a recent visit to the school in the northern part of Namibia last week, Yang Jun, political counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, said that the intention to establish the scholarship program is to help address obstacles to education for children in Namibia.
"Chinese people and companies in Namibia actively shoulder their social responsibility by offering funding and goods to help the local community. We hope that more and more Namibian friends could receive warm and sincere care and assistance from their Chinese brothers," he said.
The Chinese Ambassador Scholarship has to date benefited more than 600 learners from 34 schools in all regions countrywide.