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three-million yuan (442,451 U.S. dollars) scholarship has been made available to students from ASEAN interested in studying in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, according to an official from the local education bureau on Tuesday.
The Jasmine ASEAN scholarship is part of a wider initiative to boost educational cooperation between Jiangsu and ASEAN, and is open to students wishing to study at secondary and vocational schools in Jiangsu. The province is famous for the Chinese folk song "Jasmine Flower," which is where the scholarship got its name from.
Sixty students from ASEAN member countries have already been accepted on to the program and they began their first semester in September, Shen Jian, director of Jiangsu education bureau told Xinhua at the Jiangsu-ASEAN education dialogue Tuesday.
The dialogue, organized by China-ASEAN Center and education bureaus from both sides, aims to further boost bilateral educational cooperation under China's "Belt and Road" initiative. Over 100 educators from China and ASEAN joined the dialogue.
Educational exchanges have increased rapidly between the two sides in recent years. China welcomed 72,000 ASEAN students in 2015, while over 120,000 Chinese students studied in ASEAN the same year.
In Jiangsu, there were about 4,000 students from ASEAN in 2015, a 8.6-percent increase from a year ago.
As 2016 is the 25th anniversary of the dialogue relationship between China and ASEAN, and also the year of ASEAN-China educational exchange, local officials hope to take this opportunity to level up the figures.
"As China and ASEAN steps into a new stage of collaboration, we hope to take this opportunity to build upon our educational cooperation, and increase exchanges between Jiangsu and ASEAN," Shen said.
The province has also partnered with education bureaus in Myanmar and Indonesia to further promote communication and personnel exchange.
Besides Jiangsu, the province of Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also have similar scholarships for ASEAN students.