The number of British students who received Chinese Government Scholarship and are going to study in China has been doubled or tripled this year, a Chinese diplomat in London said Monday.
Some 57 students received the scholarship this year after the program was enlarged. The number used to be between 10 and 20, or even fewer.
"This is the biggest number we have ever seen," said Minister Counsellor Tian Xiaogang, who is in charge of the Education Section of Chinese Embassy in London.
The number would continue to rise, Tian said, adding "we are planning to sign with British universities for some long-term cooperation agreements."
China and Britain enjoy a lot of high-level exchanges in education, he added.
Frazer Macdonald, senior policy advisor in the Joint International Unit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that is in charge of higher education in Britain, agreed with Tian on this point.
"We are cooperating on all levels of education," he said and expressed hope that the growing Chinese Government Scholarship program would help "promote and cement educational links between UK and China."
There is a big demand in Britain for opportunities to China, he added.
They described the students as "civilian ambassadors" between China and Britain.
At a send-off party given by the Chinese embassy in London on Monday, Lisa Chantelle, a graduate and who is going to the East China Normal University in Shanghai, said she felt lucky for winning the scholarship and was pleased to accept it.
"I really want to go to China. I heard it's amazing," she said.
Chantelle, now an intern for the Conservative Party, said: "I will have a much better understanding of China after this (program), which is important for my dealings with China if I can get to a high place in politics."
(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2009)