Kazakhstan University Mulls ‘One Belt, One Road’ Scholarship Scheme

Kazakhstan University Mulls ‘One Belt, One Road’ Scholarship Scheme

Kazakhstan university may offer scholarships to Hong Kong students under ‘One Belt, One Road’, South China Morning Post reported.

Other speakers at forum organised by Polytechnic University also called for open-mindedness from local youth towards belt and road initiative.

One of the heads of a Kazakhstan university has said her institution is considering offering scholarships to Hong Kong students in a bid to strengthen connections with the city under China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Professor Loretta O’Donnell, vice-provost of Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University, was speaking at the ‘Nurturing Talent and Building Capacity in Supporting the Belt and Road Development’ forum, organised by Polytechnic University on Friday.

Also present was Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, who called for open-mindedness towards the policy and for people to see it as an opportunity for cultural and business exchange, instead of as political propaganda.

O’Donnell said Hong Kong has been offering scholarships to Kazakhstani students, so the university wanted to do the same for students there. But she said details about the plan have not been worked out yet.

O’Donnell said the university only had 14 out of some 4,000 students from overseas. The institution plans to increase the number of international students to about 20 per cent of the total enrolment by 2020.

She added that Hong Kong can benefit too by attracting Kazakhstani students.

In June, Hong Kong’s Education Bureau set out a plan for a seed fund of HK$1 billion to provide – through investment returns – about 100 scholarship places for students from countries under the belt and road initiative to pursue their undergraduate studies in Hong Kong or vice versa. Each scholarship recipient will get up to HK$120,000 a year.

But student union leaders were sceptical about the plan, calling it propaganda to “please Chinese leaders”. They urged the government to use the fund to increase government-subsidised degree places for local students instead of giving it to overseas students.

Student leaders called on the government to use the money to increase local subsidised degree places or fund students to study in countries with more mature economic and legal systems.