Ethiopian Minister of Science and Higher Education Hirut Woldemariam. Photo: Twitter.
INTERNATIONAL - Ethiopian Minister of Science and Higher Education Hirut Woldemariam on Sunday expressed Ethiopia's keen interest in strengthening the partnership and cooperation with China in higher education as the East African country is endeavoring to expand and enhance quality education at higher level institutions.

The minister made the remarks at the opening of the 2019 China Higher Education Exhibition in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, in which 31 renowned Chinese universities participated.

Stating that the two countries have been partnering and cooperating in different areas, Hirut said education is one of the top areas in which Ethiopia is keen to enhance cooperation with China.

"So far, we have been enjoying scholarship programs in China, sending staff members of our universities, especially public universities to go abroad, in China, for their master's and PhD programs," she said, underlining the need to strengthen cooperation in the area, as the Ethiopian government attaches great importance to education toward transforming the country's economy.

Ethiopia has been working hard over the last 20 years to expand higher education in the country, and the number of public and private universities increased to 50 and more than 200 respectively, and thereby increasing the country's enrollment capacity at higher education institutions, the minister noted.

China offers hundreds of scholarships to Ethiopians every year for short and long-term training in China, including postgraduate studies of master's and PhD programs, for which Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed commended China at the Chinese Government Training Program Fellowship Reception in Addis Ababa Thursday.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian said cooperation in education is one of the areas that China prioritizes in its relations with African countries.

He noted that in addition to the government-sponsored training programs, many Chinese universities offer opportunities for African students to study in China.

"Human resource development is an important component in our Belt and Road Initiative and under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation framework. The purpose is not only to build capacity, but also to strengthen people-to-people bond," said the ambassador.

XINHUA