When Adannur Ibrahim applied for a scholarship to study in China last November, he never thought he would be second-time lucky.
However, he got lucky and was nominated to take his four-year PhD course in Education, Technology and Communication at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan district, Hubei province, in China, starting on September 5 to July 2027.
“I did my undergraduate in Kenya and fortunately again for my Master’s, I got a scholarship to India through the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in 2016 to 2018,” Hassan said at Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa.
He is among the more than 50 Kenyan students who will in September be going to China under the Chinese government scholarship, and who met Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian.
“I believe I am going to get the three Es: Education, Exposure and Experience,” said the Garissa University lecturer, who teaches curriculum.
He said since his area of specialisation is education technology and communication, he will leverage the knowledge gained to help Kenya’s education sector get a firmer foothold in the new CBC curriculum.
“When you look at CBC, one of the core competencies is digital literacy, the integration of ICT into the education system. That is where the world is going to,” he said.
“So, the experience, knowledge and skills I am going to get in China, which is among the best technological countries, will enable help me contribute a lot into the education system in Kenya.”
This, he said, will help realise the full CBC dream in Kenya.
This being the 60th anniversary of the Kenya-China diplomatic relations, Amb Pingjian said the opportunity accords the students a chance to further strengthen relations between the two countries by being sincere goodwill ambassadors.
“Good relations between nations lie in the affinity between its peoples,” Pingjian said.
He said not every Chinese will get an opportunity to visit Kenya, but they will get the feel and idea of Kenya through the Kenyan students who will travel to study in China.
“Do a great job in representing Kenya. I believe you will come back as goodwill ambassadors for China-Kenya relations,” he advised them.
He said Kenya and China, under the strategic leadership of President William Ruto and Xi Jingpin, have become better friends and colleagues.
He said he has been a great champion in promoting Kenya among Chinese people and has encouraged more Chinese to visit and study in Kenya, too.
Education ministry Higher Education director Darius Ogutu said thousands of Kenyans have studied in China and have made a great impact on the Kenyan economy.
He advised Kenyan students to take advantage of the scholarship and gain crucial knowledge that will help push the country forward.
“China is a global leader in AI and data science. Go get that knowledge and come and transform this country,” he said.
He said he also hopes to see more Chinese students coming to study in Kenyan universities.
Kenya China Alumni Association chairman Henry Rotich said the exchange is good for Kenya-China relations and provides an opportunity for Kenyans to develop their own country when they come back.
“The engagement is to make them understand what to expect in China,” he said.
“We want them to be our good ambassadors, to promote our culture in China and to encourage Chinese to visit Kenya through how they interact with them there.”
Rotich said at first, most Kenyans used to fly to China for engineering courses at Master’s and PhD level, but now there is more interest in digital media, computer science and art even at undergraduate level.
“We are also having many people going to learn Chinese,” he said.
“A number of Kenyans now want to learn Chinese so they can use it for their own interactions in business and other engagements.”
In China, the use of robotics is advanced and more and more Kenyans now also go to study Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science.
“You see restaurants are now using robots. I was there (in China) last week and I was being served by a robot in my room,” Rotich said.
“When I missed something, I just placed instructions and the robot delivered it to my room.”
It is an opportunity for Kenyans to learn more about AI and come and implement in Kenya, he said.