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Kenya calls for closer education cooperation with China

updated:2011/7/27 14:44:24

NAIROBI, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government has called for closer cooperation with China in the field of education as a way of broadening bilateral relations between the two friendly nations.

Kenya#s Assistant Minister for Higher Education Kilemi Mwiria said education cooperation between the two countries has been on the rise since 1995 when Chinese professors began teaching Kenyan students agriculture and the Chinese language. "It is important to enhance education cooperation between the two countries as a way of broadening the relations between the two countries outside the traditional areas of cooperation," Mwiria told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview in Nairobi.

He said China has become a very popular study destination for Kenyan students, compared to the traditional study targets in western countries.

"Because they see an added advantage in learning the Chinese language and culture alongside their majors," said Mwiria who is also a former university lecturer.

"Educational cooperation between Kenya and China has not been sufficient because it is one way. Kenyan students are going to study in China and we hardly get Chinese students coming to study in Kenya," he said.

Mwiria named Chinese language and culture, computer science, agriculture, medicine and lately civil engineering as the most popular courses Kenyan students undertake in China.

He said the east African nation gains tremendously from Chinese education, like it would from elsewhere, adding that the most significant gain Kenya derives from Chinese education is the mastery of the Chinese language by Kenyan students.

According to Mwiria, the most advantage of China as a study destination for Kenyan students is that they are able to study the Chinese language.

"They also learn Chinese culture, which is very vast. Chinese is one of the six languages used at the United Nations and spoken by at least one fifth of the global population. And with China#s cooperation with Kenya on the rise, Kenyans are seeing many opportunities knocking," he said.

The assistant minister said since the Chinese language is not widely spoken outside China and with