The India High Commission in Ghana has celebrated Indian Technical and Economic Co-operated (ITEC) Day to mark a milestone in its technical and economic co-operative programme in Africa, including Ghana.
The celebration also coincided with International Students Day to mark the birthday of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great stalwart of the Indian freedom struggle, an eminent educationist and the first Union Minister for Education of the Republic of India.
The ITEC Day is celebrated annually by the Indian High Commission. It provides a platform to all ITEC alumni to come together and share their experiences of learning, working and living in India.
These interactions the High Commission noted, provides useful feedback about the programme and help in making the courses more productive and result oriented.
In a speech to mark the Day, the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Rajinder Bhagat said since the inception of the programme in 1964, India has provided technical assistance worth more than $2 billion to developing countries including Ghana.
He added that India spends over U.S $12 million annually on ITEC activities.
The components of activities the High Commissioner mentioned include training, project and related activities (i.e. feasibility studies and consultancy services), deputation of experts abroad, study tours, gifting/donation of equipment and aid for disaster relief. The entire expenditure for training, include to and fro airfare, tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses is met by the Government of India.
The High Commissioner noted that since the commencement of the ITEC scheme, over 1350 Ghanaian students professionals have been trained in India. In 2011-2012 alone, a total of 170 students/professionals were trained under ITEC and other schemes.
Apart from the training of civilian personnel, he said ITEC also imparts training to defence personnel in various defence institutions in India. “Some of the ITEC alumni have reached the top echelons in their respective Armed Forces including in the Armed Forces of Ghana”, he emphasised.
Other existing schemes of the Government of India Ghanaian Officials and youth also benefited include Professional Courses for Foreign Diplomats (PCFD), Familiarisation Tours for Journalists and Know India Programme for Ghanaian citizens of Indian Origin amongst others.
In pursuance of decisions taken under the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), the High Commissioner said many Ghanaians have been sent to India for Capacity Building programmes for the special courses offered under the India – Africa Forum Summit’s Plan of Action scheme such as Food Safety and Quality, Quality Seed and Planting Material Production of Horticultural crops to boost the agriculture sector of Ghana’s economy.
Apart from the above, he added it has also been proposed to establish India-Africa Institute of Information Technology, Regional material Testing Laboratory for Highways and Construction of Training Academy under International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) in Ghana under IAFS.
India’s relations with Ghana, the High Commissioner noted has been long and historic. He said the strong foundation of India-Ghana friendship was laid by India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He added that the friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two countries have grown steadily over the years.
India’s initiatives of “Focus Africa Policy”, TEAM-9, India – Africa Forum Summit and ITEC have strengthened cooperation between the two countries which today extends to key sectors of agriculture, rural electrification, infrastructure and human resource development.
The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and the Flag Staff House were cited as shining examples of India – Ghana bilateral cooperation. Also, a fertilizer joint venture at the cost of US$ 1.3 billion is in advanced stage of discussions.
Mr Lee Ocrean, the Minister for Education thanked the Government of India for the various support outlined in the ITEC programme. He appealed to the Government of India to support train Ghanaians ICT at the various tertiary and pre-tertiary institutions.
Source: ISD (Imoro T. Ayibani, Sunyani)