The first phase of the Eritrea Institute of Technology – College of Science new building inauguration and hand-over ceremony was successfully held last Thursday, in the presence of PFDJ higher officials, Ministers, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) representatives and workers, members of the National Commission of Higher Education, Deans, students and invited guests.
When we reached Mai Nefhi 25 km south west of Asmara, the remarkably built new College of Science building greeted us with its fine magnificence, just as we stepped into the compound. Huge, well-built and pleasing to look at it makes one wish for a start of new educational career in it. The various educational infrastructures across the country are living examples of the government’s commitment to upgrading educational standards.
The inauguration and handover ceremony was officially opened with a minute of silence in honor of our martyrs followed by the two nations’ flags rising in front of the new building where everyone stood in the sunny morning in the Mai Nefhi ground. The new building required nearly one hundred Chinese employees and about two hundred Eritrean workers to be finalized. The over 25 million dollar project started on December 2014 by CCECC. The building sits on 18,453 square meters and is designed to have one Library (3floors), two lecture halls and classrooms (both two floors), one Administration and Teachers’ building (four floors), three Laboratories (lab 1 and lab 2 with 3 floors while lab 3 with 2 floors), and one Equipment room (1 floor). Besides this the infrastructure equips underground concrete treatment pool, underground reinforced concrete septic tank, finished equipment pool, outdoor road, square flagpole, parking area, outdoor electric and water works, facilities and furniture.
The chairman of CCECC, Mr. Yuan Li, described the building as a mix of classical and modern beauty, coinciding in the temperament of Asmara. The chairman continued conveying his gratitude to the Eritrean and Chinese governments for their trust in CCECC and entrusting such huge project to the corporation and appreciated Eritrean workers’ hard work. He said it wouldn’t be a reality if the workers hadn’t formed the strong friendship they formed with the corporation. Handing over certificate of honor to the workers of the project was given by the chairman.
Following was the Tigrigna- Chinese song presented by the Confucius School which rhymed about the partnership of the two nations and caught every invited guest’s attention. Minister of education Mr. Semere Russom, on the occasion, said that since 1993 formal establishment of the relationship between Eritrea and China cultural and educational cooperation has been strengthened and flourishing fast. He further mentioned Chinese institutions of varying academic and professional fields of competence have been giving ample scholarship opportunities of post graduate programs for young Eritrean since 2008. The minister also recognized the development of educational infrastructures by Chinese government such as the three elementary schools built in Mendefera, Ghindae and Asmara in the last few years. The educational facilities in Hamelmalo Agricultural College, modern library in EIT colleges and the Adi Keih College are among the other projects constructed by the Chinese government.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Eritrea, Mr. Yang Zigang, in his inauguration speech, said that the building will be a new symbol of the Sino-Eritrea friendship. Since diplomatic ties between Eritrea and China began the bilateral cooperation of the nations’ has been stronger in politics, economy, culture and education.
The Ambassador further noted that the completion of the project is the latest achievement of the China-Africa “Cultural and People to People Plan” in the “China- Africa Ten Cooperation Plans” and is a proof the two nations are tied together. The completion of the project will upgrade the infrastructure of EIT, improve conditions of study, expand its space and lay pillars of Eritrea’s vibrant growth in education, he added.
Professor Ghebrehiwet, Vice President of EIT, on his side, said the new college will enhance the teaching and learning process both in capacity and quality. The new building is believed to have a capacity of hosting around 6000 students at a time. Currently there are seven departments, 141 staff members and 953 students among which 38 are post graduate.
The Dean of the College, Dr. Habtay Ghebreweld is confident the fully equipped college will be assisted by the ample staff members available. The college of science has been giving services to the colleges of Engineering and Education and freshman programs apart from teaching the students under its guardianship. Considering the facilities currently introduced, there will be an immediate impact in all departments of the College of Science for the reason each department will have a minimum of four laboratories at its disposal which will enable the conduct of practical classes and produce skilled students along with better research ground for the teaching staff. The dean said that it is a symbol of progress and success in the path of education.
As the ceremony approached its end, it was time for the higher officials present on the day to cut the red ribbon and they collectively did so and opened the new College of Science door. At last students and members of the College took a chance for selfies smiling in front of their school.
The Chinese side CCECC is one of the largest contractors of China’s state owned corporations conducting huge projects locally and throughout the African continent. On behalf of the corporation the Chinese Ambassador said that the Chinese side will provide a one year technical support and maintenance services to ensure the college operates smoothly and looks forward for the second and third phase of the Engineering and Education Colleges in the future. The government of Eritrea’s commitment to national development, and particularly investment in education is a long term aim of spreading professionalism among the youth. The renaissance of the Eritrean colleges and education is taking place in an amazing pace and the yield looks promising.