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Egyptian college to provide 'quantum leap' after China bond

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-10-24 08:45

ISMAILIA, Egypt-With its many exchange programs, training schemes and a new Chinese-funded technical college, Suez Canal University represents one of the largest and most fruitful educational collaborations between Egypt and China, says the institution's president, Atef Aboul-Nour.

He cited several areas where the two are working together, including the new Egyptian-Chinese Applied Technology College, due to open for the 2018-19 academic year.

The institution will be "the first technological college all over Egypt", Aboul-Nour says.

"We hope it will make a quantum leap in the field of technology in the country."

The college will offer a technical bachelor's degree in three majors: communication technology, electronic technology and mechatronic technology. Around 125 students have already registered for its first academic year, and Aboul-Nour stresses the institute will help plug a shortage of technological and technical talent in Egypt.

It joins the Confucius Institute in Suez Canal University, which has been attracting hundreds of Chinese-language learners from Ismailia and nearby provinces, since it opened in April 2008.

"The Confucius Institute is another example of Egyptian-Chinese educational cooperation, as it plays a cultural, educational and enlightening role in the whole Suez Canal region, through spreading the Chinese language and culture," the university's president says.

Another link is the Fish Farming and Technology Institute. Backed by a Chinese grant, the institute has become a key school in the Arab world for fish farmers looking to improve their skills since it opened in 2014.

"Since its establishment, the institute has been holding training courses and workshops to spread fish-farming culture in the Suez Canal region," says Aboul-Nour, noting that most workers in the aquaculture field in Egypt have already received training at the institute.

One such workshop has just wrapped up. Beginning on Sept 19, the 21-day course saw Chinese experts give theoretical and practical lectures, including those on new techniques to produce industrial quantities of fish food, such as algae and zooplanktons.

Aboul-Nour says that university staffers also pay regular visits to Chinese companies operating in the Suez Canal region.

He describes bilateral relations between Egypt and China as "distinguished and deep-rooted", adding that Egypt is a focal point in China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network, connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

"Egypt is a prominent country in the Belt and Road Initiative as it is in the middle of Africa, Asia and Europe. It overlooks key maritime routes in the world and its Suez Canal is a vital waterway for most of the Chinese trade heading to Europe," Aboul-Nour says.

Aboul-Nour explains that there are plans for expanding cooperation between his university and China, noting that he recently met with Chinese education officials in China, where they agreed to enhance collaboration.

"I also visited Nankai University in Tianjin and discussed with the university officials the possibility of issuing jointly accredited certificates in various fields," he says. "We really hope to boost educational cooperation between Egypt and China."

He adds that his university expresses appreciation for the support of China, "as it spares no effort in helping us upgrade the sectors of education and research in our university.

"Cooperation between our university and China is massive and diversified, and we hope it will further increase in the years to come."

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