Feature: Chinese scholarships inspire hope, dreams of S. Sudanese students to acquire skills

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-16 22:27:46|Editor: huaxia
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By Denis Elamu

JUBA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese students who are beneficiaries of scholarships being offered by China are hoping to learn useful skills in order to develop their country seeking to recover from more than five years of conflict.

Peter Makhor Akech, a 20 year-old beneficiary of such scholarships is already upbeat as he waits to travel to Beijing to study software engineering at the prestigious Beijing University of Technology.

Akech is among the 29 students who recently benefited from the 2019 scholarships and dreams of contributing towards the development of South Sudan's nascent Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sector when he completes his studies in a few years ahead.

"My dream was to study computer science so this scholarship will be benefiting because in my country the development of technology is very low and when we come back with skills we are going to uplift our technology step by step to a better place like communication skills and all those things that require computers," he told Xinhua on Friday in Juba.

Mabeny Kuol Makuei, 26 who completed his studies in civil engineering at Beijing University of Technology last year on scholarship hailed the advanced Chinese education system for enabling him to acquire critical and advanced skills in software and road design which he plans to put to use for the development of South Sudan which badly needs roads.

"We have learnt a lot of things most of the students in Africa are not learning. We have been doing a lot of software for studies, designing for roads because it's my major so I learnt a lot of things there (Beijing) that are not taught in Africa," said Makuei.

He noted that his newly acquired skills need to be supported in an enabling environment to benefit the youngest nation in its quest for economic growth and development since outbreak of conflict in December 2013.

As President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar implement the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia to end the violence, Makuei is hopeful that peace will create conducive environment for him to put his skills into proper use.

"I need to have chance first of all, I have the skills but if there is no chance there is no way I can go ahead with these skills. I need an environment where I can exercise what I studied there, this is what I think we should first do," said Makuei.

He believed that South Sudan-China relations are bound to advance at higher levels with such scholarships.

"I think it is very important for me to say that the relationship between South Sudan and China is going to be very strong in the future because we have these people (students) that went there so it is very important for us to work with the Chinese to strengthen the relationship between the two countries," added Makuei.

Kur Manyuat Makuac, 27 year-old petroleum engineer who graduated in 2018 at the China University of Petroleum after benefiting from sponsorship by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said he will play his part in helping his country's oil sector develop amid dearth of petroleum engineers.

"Petroleum engineering is totally not in South Sudan all the universities don't have departments of petroleum engineering. I think the skills I acquired will help me contribute to my country because we don't have enough petroleum engineers here and yet the oil sector is very important for our country because it's what we depend upon," said Makuac.

He added that he hopes the ongoing mutual relationship between the two countries continues, so that more needy South Sudanese students benefit from Chinese government scholarships.

Akon Paul Majuec, 28 who is still pursuing her undergraduate studies in rural development and management studies at China Agricultural University in Beijing since last year, said she has acquired skills in research and recommended her country adopts friendly poverty alleviation policies like those in China.

"For us in South Sudan our problem is that we lack policies on various issues like poverty alleviation and without policies we cannot do anything," said Majuec.

Majuec who hopes to complete studies in 2020, added that South Sudan can also learn from the fact that the Communist Party of China, China's ruling party, has maintained tight disciplinary code within it's membership and a hard line against official graft.

Thousands of South Sudanese have benefited from Chinese government scholarships covering both undergraduate and masters studies at the various universities over the past years.