China and Dominica got closer last week when the Chinese government and people donated nine more scholarships to Dominican students, taking the value of Chinese scholarships to Dominican students to US$7 million (about EC$ 18.97 million).

Speaking at the ceremony, on behalf of the Minister of Education, Chandler Hyacinth, Senior Admissions Officer, described the scholarships as another "tangible expression of the depth and success of the Dominica, China relation but also it is an occasion that is focused on development opportunities for our young people, the future of Dominica."

Hyacinth noted that the programme is keeping up the vision that government has for its citizens in attaining higher education.

"We live in an age of unprecedented break-through, knowledge, development and technology and general know-how. Our students must be equipped to take on their place in this competitive global environment," she said.

Hyacinth then thanked the Chinese government for its assistance to Dominica since the two countries established diplomatic relations ten years ago.

"Dominica appreciates this gesture of support more so because we believe education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development," Hyacinth said. "No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education improves the quality of peoples' lives and lends to broad social benefit to individuals and importantly to society at large."

She added: "As government we are seeking to increase productivity and creativity, promote entrepreneurship and keep up to date with technological advances…This scholarship arrangement with the People Republic of China is in its tenth year and to date we have seen an investment of over US$7 million dollars in education of our Dominican citizens".

She said that the Chinese government's contribution to education is far more than scholarships; it is also shown by their contribution to the state of the art Newtown Primary School and the construction of the new Dominica State College.

Hyacinth disclosed that in the 2015 to 2018 period the two countries will begin the China-Dominica Human Resource Training Programme in which China will provide short training stints for groups of nationals in preferred fields of interest.

A total of 135 Dominican students have benefited from the Chinese Government Scholarships programme.