Under the aegis of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav-AKAM’, the High Commission of India in Freetown (Sierra Leone) along with ITEC alumni celebrated the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day 2023 on 15 September 2023 at its Chancery premises on Wilkinson Road in Freetown.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Neeraj Kumar Saini, Charge d’ Affaires of India said that the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) is a Government of India’s flagship programme instituted on 15 September 1964, and has been a vehicle to share India’s vast and unique experience of growth and development through capacity building and training in a wide and diverse spectrum of skills. ITEC Programme has created visible and growing awareness about the competence of India as provider of technical knowledge and expertise as well as training opportunities, and much more. India offers 50 ITEC slots every year to Sierra Leone for short, medium and long-term capacity building programmes. ITEC Programme covers more than 160 countries all over the world. There are more than 200,000 ITEC alumni across the world, and over 300 Sierra Leonean have pursued and benefited from the various courses under ITEC Programme. These alumni are giving their valuable contribution in the progress of Sierra Leone utilizing their training and skill development which they gained in premiere Indian institutes. He also mentioned that the ITEC alumni are like a strong bridges between India and Sierra Leone, which connects both countries in many ways.
His Excellency Mr. Sarjoh Aziz Kamara, Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, speaking as the chief guest of the event, expressed that India and Sierra Leone share long cordial bilateral relations and India has been playing an important role in capacity building of Sierra Leone. He hoped that Sierra Leone would be benefiting from India through its ITEC courses in various fields like, food security, ICT, disaster management etc. Mr. Abraham John, Director (Middle East & Asia) in Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also appreciated the ITEC Programme mentioning the six decades long cordial bilateral relations between both countries and India’s contribution to Sierra Leone in capacity building. A number of officers from Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation were also present during the event.
A large number of ITEC alumni participated in the event. Many participants, while sharing their experiences, overwhelmingly elaborated on how the ITEC Programme has changed their skills, perceptions, careers and lives in a positive way. They mentioned about world class faculties, quality of courses, facilities and infrastructure in Indian institutes; their interaction with rich Indian traditions and culture; their visits to various monuments and tourists places, and tastes of varieties of Indian foods.
The event was concluded with remarks and vote of thanks by Mr. Pankaj Kumar Sharma, Second Secretary at High Commission of India, Freetown.
In the recent past, the High Commission of India has coordinated training programmes for officials of the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (NECSL), Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and other Ministries/Depts of Sierra Leone. In addition to 50 ITEC slots, India also provides 15 full ICCR scholarships to Sierra Leone for under-graduate and post-graduate courses in reputed Institutes of India.
Sierra Leone is also one of the beneficiaries of scholarships under India’s e-VidyaBharati or tele-education programme for online under-graduate and post-graduate courses being offered by various reputed Universities in India. So far, more than 400 students from Sierra Leone have enrolled/pursuing/completed various courses. For such students, a Learning Centre at Fourah Bay College, consisting of a Computer Lab & Multimedia Room has been established by the Government of India.