MWAZIPEZA CHANDA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has welcomed the establishment of the Zambia China Old Students Association (ZACOSA) secretariat as it will curb the rising number of false agents offering education consultancy services.
Speaking at the official commissioning of the ZACOSA secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, Ministry of Higher Education permanent secretary Owen Mgemezulu said the increase in people travelling to China for studies and business had bred many false agents.
â€œGovernment has noted that some unscrupulous persons have taken advantage of the increased interest in Chinaâ€™s education prospects and have either overcharged or outrightly swindled parents on the pretext of securing scholarships or school places,â€ he said.
At the same event, acting Chinese ambassador Chen Shijie noted that this year, a record 200 Zambians had accessed government scholarships to study in China.
Mr Chen said the establishment of the ZACOSA secretariat came at a time more Zambian students were looking to study in China.
â€œEducation is one of the important fields of bilateral people-to-people exchanges. Over 2,000 Zambian students are studying in China,â€ he said, â€œand China has become the favourite destination for young people to pursue studies overseas.â€
â€œI believe that under the joint efforts of ZACOSA and other stakeholders, the ZACOSA secretariat will open a new window for more Zambian people to get to know about China and its culture.â€
ZACOSA president Friday Mulenga said his organisation is grateful to the Chinese government, who provided support towards hosting the office at the Chinese Centre.
He said his association had over 100 members coming from various professions covering medicine, engineering, economy, journalism and many more academia.
Mr Mulenga pledged his organisationâ€™s commitment to adding value to the provision of educational consultancy services to privately funded students wishing to study in China as well as supporting business collaboration.
Mr Mgemezulu said the services to be offered by the ZACOSA secretariat would see more students who want to study in China access such products as insurance and medical cover information that would enhance the quality of their stay abroad.
He said the ministry of education was closing the year of 2016 on a very appreciative note because of the great collaboration the governments of China and Zambia had achieved.
The permanent secretary thanked the Chinese government for the continued support shown to his ministry that has seen China donate over US$3million worth of equipment to several Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) institutions across the country as well as the high-level opening of the Confucius Institute in Lusaka.
â€œMany ministry officials have also attended short-term training in China, including all the vice-chancellors from our public universities,â€ he said.
The ZACOSA secretariat will provide educational counselling, recruitment services, university selection, offers and admissions, pre-departure and post-arrival services and other additional support to prospective students.
The organisation also plans to recruit more members.
MWAZIPEZA CHANDA, Lusaka