Shandong offers scholarship for Ilocano students, gov't workers

Nov 07, 2017 ...

On a follow-up visit and dialogue with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan yesterday, November 6, the Chinese delegation from the Province of Shandong encouraged Ilocano government workers and students to avail of their language scholarship program.

This was one of the proposed partnership opportunities offered by Mr. Zhang Jigang, head of the delegation and executive vice president of Shandong People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. He led four other officials and executives from different foreign affairs agencies on the trip meant to ensure implementation of the Action Plan signed by the Provincial Governments of Ilocos Norte and Shandong last April 2017.

According to Mr. Zhang, one or two from each of Shandong's sister provinces are annually entitled with scholarships that include academic learning of the Chinese Mandarin language for a year. Other sister province or state of Shandong is Adelaide, capital of South Australia.

Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba sees this as proposal a "good opportunity" as it is not only for students and teachers, but also can be catered to government officials, department heads, and workers below the retirement age of 65.

"We had a dialogue na maganda ang kinalabasan. Unang-una, may dala na silang tatlong rice mill na pupunta dito sa atin, sa Lalawigan ng Ilocos Norte. Pangalawa, interesado na sila sa sektor ng edukasyon at turismo. Yun ang maganda do'n [sa dialogue]," said Barba, expressing his gratitude for the continuous support given by the sister province.

Three rice milling machines were donated to Ilocos Norte as part of the March 2017 Action Plan, which resulted from the Chinese delegation's own evaluation of the province's agricultural potential and capabilities.

"Nasabi naman natin sa kanila na in gratitude, we can give them our expertise in educating their students in the English language, 'yun ang unang hakbang," he added.

IN leaders, business stakeholders to visit Shandong next year

"They [Mr. Zhang] have an open invitation for Shandong next year to bring our business leaders and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, together with Governor Imee R. Marcos, to the Province of Shandong to have a trade fair especially, specifically, and only for the Province of Ilocos Norte," Barba shared

Mr. Zhang, on the other hand, assures that they will "organize promotion events and will coordinate with the different commerce institutions of Shandong to organize a promotional event.

"We will have local companies and institutions to meet the [Ilocos Norte delegation]. We can organize different events in the province," he said. 

Barba shared that the visit is very likely to push through next year, depending on the feasibility of travel and considering also the cost or expenses needed for the Ilocos Norte delegation.

Mr. Zhang and the delegation visit is part of the implementation of the action plan signed by Shandong Vice Governor Mr. Wang Junmin and Governor Imee R. Marcos last April 3 this year.

The said plan was formulated to "strengthen exchanges and communication, and to deepen cooperation between the two provinces" mainly in the fields of agriculture, industry, economic and trade, tourism, and education.

by Ma. Christian A. Ramos

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