Eighty-five South African students, who pursued professional training courses in India under a bilateral programme, have lauded the capacity-building course, saying it helped them enhance their technological skills.
Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) focuses on addressing the needs of developing countries through innovative technological cooperation between India and the partnering nation.
“I have seen Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi through ITEC because the programme is pursuing the dreams of these two great leaders of our countries,” said John Seyama, who studied Network Security in India.
“I am one of the students who were fortunate enough to be on the programme when ITEC celebrated its 50th anniversary last year,” Seyama added.
The Indian High Commission in Pretoria hosted some of the 85 South Africans who have participated in the programme over the past year at the annual ITEC Day celebrations.
“I was among the 22 students who spent September 2014 in India studying Corporate Governance. It was such an experience. There was a lot of learning for us,” said Salome Ngoyama.
“The stereotype, and everything else within me, was challenged. But we learnt to embrace our diversity, especially since there were about 90 people from the African continent, as well as delegates from Eastern Europe,” Ngoyama said, adding that the course was well-prepared by the best professors and the best presenters.
“I would encourage everybody in South Africa and other partner countries with India in the corporate governance space to go to the International Management Institute in Delhi,” Ngoyama concluded.
Indian High Commissioner Ruchi Ghanashyam explained how the programme was started in 1964 to reach out to other developing countries.
“We did not have too much to offer while we learnt to stand on our own two feet at that time but our leadership at that time in their sound wisdom decided that whatever little we had to try to share it with our brothers and sisters throughout the developing world.
“Earlier it used to be a capacity-building programme alone but now it has been extended to other areas such as capacity-building centres, development of even a national Parliament or Presidential office, rural electrification and agricultural equipment,” she said.
Recalling the unusual training elements of ITEC during her tenure as High Commissioner in Ghana, she said Ghana did not have sniffer dogs and requested assistance.
“We got two people to go to India for six months and then they came back with the dogs. So if you go Accra and are welcomed by two black Labradors, please say hello to them from me because they are from India,” Ghanashyam added.