700 students attend American Colleges Admissions Fair
Harare- November 7, 2008- Over 700 high school students from Harare and Chitungwiza, and as far as Mutare and Gweru, attended the Council of International Schools College and Universities Fair hosted jointly by the US and Canadian Embassies November 5th 2008 held in Harare. The attendance exceeded last year’s fair by more than 250 students.
The event was held at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing a deterioration of the education system, and not surprisingly an increasing number of Zimbabwean students are turning to the West for further education.
Speaking after touring the Fair, U.S. Ambassador James McGee said the event “is a wonderful opportunity for young Zimbabweans to continue to get a higher education. Given the state of the education system in Zimbabwe, that is extremely important.”
McGee said that over the last 10 years, the U.S. had witnessed an impressive increase in the number of international students from Zimbabwe.
“Over the last 10 years there has been a 300 percent increase in the number of students coming from Zimbabwe and attending universities in the United States. Ten years ago there were only 500 students right now there are over 1500 students from Zimbabwe attending university in the United States,” said McGee.
The U.S. envoy said the U.S. is still committed to seeing the U.S. continue receiving Zimbabwean students, and his Embassy had worked to secure scholarships to benefit deserving and talented students: “This past year alone we gave out over 11 million dollars in scholarships to undergraduate students and about 3 million to graduate students. So the commitment is there,” said McGee.
With news of African-American Barack Obama’s victory in the U.S. Presidential election still fresh in their minds, the high turn-out demonstrates the increasing interest in American education in Zimbabwe. It also highlights the confidence American institutions still have in students from Zimbabwe, despite the economic challenges that have affected the education sector.
Canadian Ambassador Barbara Richardson said Zimbabwean students are highly regarded at Canadian universities and the institutions have asked for more students from the impoverished country.
“We have received feedback from universities in Canada that they welcome particularly students from Zimbabwe because they find the students from Zimbabwe always hard-working, diligent and some of the best students they receive on their campuses.”
13 colleges and universities from the United States and 4 from Canada participated at the Fair which is jointly organized by the Council for International Schools and United States Educational Advising Center based at the U.S. Embassy in Harare. The visiting group included some of America’s top educational institutions including Brown, Columbia, Princeton, Stanford and Yale Universities.
The United States and Canada boast of some of the best and most comprehensive systems of higher education in the world with over 4,200 accredited and internationally recognized institutions of higher education, all of whom welcome the diversity brought by international students to their campuses.