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University of Canterbury offers scholarships to school students in Wuhan, China.

21 April 2008

From Diane Keenan who is with the Mayor's delegation in China

The University of Canterbury is offering two full and seven part scholarships to students at the prestigious Number 1 Middle School in Christchurch’s Friendship City of Wuhan, China,

Professor Scott Davidson, who is visiting China with Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker’s delegation to Gansu province and Wuhan, announced the scholarships during a visit to Number 1 Middle School attached to Central China Normal University.

The school, with a roll of around 5000 students aged up to 18, is the top school in Central China and one of the top six ranked schools in China. All its graduates qualify for keenly contested places in China’s universities – 80 per cent of them for Tier One Universities. One of its most famous graduates, the man who developed China’s first rocket, visited the school the day before Mr Parker’s visit.

Professor Davidson said the College of Engineering and the College of Business and Economics were waiving tuition fees completely, while other colleges were providing partial fee waivers. Campus Living Villages, which manages University of Canterbury student accommodation, and the University’s travel provider were also providing partial scholarships.

The students will apply for the scholarships and be interviewed for places after their final national examinations in June.

“In offering these scholarships we are promoting Christchurch and of course the University of Canterbury as a provider of quality education to these brilliant young students,” Professor Davidson said.

Mr Parker and Professor Davidson spoke to 1500 students at the Number 1 Middle School, providing information about both Christchurch and also what qualities are needed to study in New Zealand. Students who spoke excellent English engaged the two with a number of questions about the cost and quality of education in New Zealand and also about the lifestyle in Christchurch.

The scholarships strengthen the strong ties the University of Canterbury has with education institutions in Wuhan, China’s fourth largest city. It has a formal agreement on academic cooperation and exchanges with Wuhan University, Zhongnang University of Economics and Law, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the China University of Geosciences.

In another relationship announced during the Christchurch delegation’s visit, Christchurch City Council and the University of Canterbury will be cooperating in future with the Wuhan Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Science on public education, landscaping, research in plant science and public garden management projects. Mr Parker and Professor Davidson signed a statement of intent for the three parties to explore the possibility of a joint programme of academic and scientific exchange.

The Wuhan gardens have much to offer New Zealand. The 78-hectare gardens which are home to 8000 species are not only beautiful, but they are a progressive centre for research and saving endangered plants.

Research programmes include developing aquatic plants to clean up polluted Chinese waterways.

“Everyone who has visited these gardens since Christchurch developed its relationship with Wuhan has been impressed,” Mr Parker says.

“The Wuhan gardens are not just a beautiful place where you walk with your children, but it’s also a centre for research and teaching. We can apply much of what Wuhan is achieving with collecting species and carrying out research to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.  This new relationship with the Wuhan Gardens will be significant going forward.”


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