Above: the meeting in Antigua
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Antigua Education, Youth, Sports and Gender Affairs Minister Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro held talks this week with Chinese Ambassador to Antigua Ren Gongping to discuss ways the Chinese government can assist Antigua’s education sector.
The courtesy call on Monday was the first meeting between the two officials since Ren became China’s lead envoy on the Caribbean island.
China has been supporting education in Antigua through several initiatives, including those providing laptops in schools and a new special needs programme and a scholarship programme.
Quinn-Leandro said she also was eagerly awaiting a new plan to build a secondary school at Five Islands.
“The scholarship programme is an excellent one, which our young people have been able to benefit from as they study in the various disciplines,” the Minister said. “We are very grateful for this sort of cooperation we have with the People’s Republic of China.”
There are 95 Antiguan students currently in China, with many planning to return next year.
The two sides also explored the idea of introducing Mandarin to students in Antigua and Barbuda, possibly at the Antigua State College.