J’cans still eager to study in China

A number of Jamaican students who have applied for scholarship to study in China ahead of the discovery of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan are still eager to do so, according to the Chinese embassy in Jamaica.

Up to February 20, five days before the application deadline and long before the full extent of the devastation that COVID-19 would wreak on the global economy became apparent, there were 35 Jamaicans hoping to have the Jamaican and Chinese governments defray some of their costs to study in the Asian country.

These applicants are still waiting to hear if they have been successful, as universities go over their submissions ahead of their final reports to the Chinese scholarship office.

“We have not received any request for cancellations or deferments from the scholarship applicants. Instead, some applicants are eager to get their admission to pursue their higher education in China,” embassy spokesperson Shaowu Xia told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

In addition to discussions surrounding the next tranche of Jamaican students hoping to study in China, there are also ongoing efforts to ensure that those who were slated to graduate this summer will be able to do so.

“We are not aware of any graduations being delayed that will impact Jamaican scholarship students. The graduation [dates] of different universities may differ from each other due to the situation [caused by the] COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shaowu. “The universities have their own arrangements accordingly, such as online learning or online thesis defence and dissertation. At present, all is well with Jamaican students studying in China. We have not received any complaint or request for assistance.”

Norville Belvett, a master’s degree scholarship student at Wuhan University of Technology, is among those who have presented and defended their thesis virtually. He is still waiting, though, to hear when he will graduate.

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