China-Africa meet on vocational education opens in Uganda

KAMPALA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Education experts from China, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and host Uganda are meeting in here to discuss how vocational education can fast track Africa's development.

The event, China-Africa Vocational Education Academic Exchange Seminar 2019, was opened on Thursday by John Chrysestom Muyingo, Uganda's minister of state for higher education.

Muyingo said Uganda is now prioritizing skills training and education to create employment for the youths who compose two-thirds of the country's population.

"It is this desire to equip our people with skills that has climaxed in today's occasion," Muyingo told the meeting held under the theme, "Build a community of shared future for mankind and build a bright future for China-Africa vocational education."

Muyingo said the government is upgrading six institutes across the country into Centers of Excellence, equipped with modern training tools and human resource.

Ma Bo, the principal of Sunmaker Oil and Gas Institute, a Chinese skills training school in Uganda, said there is an urged need for skilled personnel in the labor market in Africa.

Ma said African countries are making efforts to reform the vocational and technical education and training system to meet the market needs.

Yang Xiaochun, deputy director-general of China Center for People to People Exchanges, ministry of education, in a letter to the meeting said he hoped that a mechanism would be set up and explore the model of vocational education cooperation between China and East African countries.

Yang said China has taken vocational education development as an important part of its economic and social development plan and incorporated it into its national development strategy.

Chen Huixin, counselor of the Chinese embassy in Uganda, said China and Uganda attach great importance to education because it is the foundation to building a nation.

The two-day meeting is attended by 16 institutes from China and 40 institutes from Africa.

At the end of the seminar, memorandum of understandings will be signed between institutes from China and Africa to promote bilateral and multilateral international cooperation.

"We hope to finalize Kampala Initiative for Building a China-Africa Vocational Education Community and guide us for the further interaction and cooperation," Ma said.

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