South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party bade farewell Wednesday to a group of students travelling to Turkey to pursue further studies.
The mood was buoyant at O.R. Tambo International Airport as ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule briefed them on what to expect there.
“Turks are very serious people. Take your studies very seriously while there and make us proud when you return,” he told the 29 students enrolling at Turkey’s Bahcesehir University in various courses.
The students are being sponsored by the ANC through the Ace Magashule Foundation, which has cultivated good relations with Turkish educational institutions.
The foundation has previously sent many students to study at Turkish institutions.
“The students will be pursuing courses in Engineering, Business, Management and Medicine,” Sibel Baykut, advisor to the president for international affairs and assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Bahcesehir University, told Anadolu Agency in Johannesburg.
She said there are currently more than 50 South African students enrolled at her university.
“Twenty seven students left in February, and this group will be joining them today,” she said, adding the students are blessed because Bahcesehir University is ranked among the best in Turkey.
In an earlier statement, the ANC said the students were selected from disadvantaged communities.
Many of the students were unemployed, despite some having degrees and diplomas from local institutions of higher learning.
Magashule advised the students to be disciplined and abide by Turkey’s laws in order to successfully complete their studies.
“We enjoy good relations with Turkey at both the government and party to party levels,” he told Anadolu Agency shortly after briefing the students.
He said the ANC will be meeting with authorities of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party after the May elections in South Africa.
“Our relations are deepening,” he added.
Earlier this month, an ANC spokesman said the party is impressed with Turkey’s education model and plans to emulate it.
“We have realized that Turkey is advanced in vocational and technical training. Their expertise in technical education can help us shape our education curriculum,’’ Dakota Legoete told Anadolu Agency.
He said the ANC would like to follow Turkey’s model by introducing vocational schools at every higher institution of learning to help equip students with the necessary knowledge and life skills relevant to the economy and world.
Turkey values vocational training and has several vocational schools that train students with the skills necessary for their occupations in line with the targets of the country’s economy and demands of the business world.
Turkey’s Ambassador to South Africa, Elif Comoglu Ulgen, confirmed that the two countries enjoy good bilateral relations.
“The Turkish governing party’s relationship with the ANC is evolving in a very positive direction, and this is indeed very good news,” she said in a recent interview.