Amitabh Sharma, Contributor
Thirty participants of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) gathered at India House on West Kings House Road to celebrate the successful completion of their respective programmes on December 19.
The young professionals, drawn from a range of backgrounds, were in India to supplement their studies and gain proficiency.
"Since the inception of the programme, more than 200 Jamaicans and 50 Bahamians have benefited from the ITEC training programme and have contributed to the development of their respective countries," said Pratap Singh, high commissioner of India to Jamaica.
The ITEC programme, the participants recalled, not only exposed them to various methodologies and nuances in their respective subject areas, but also to different cultural experiences. During the programme, they interacted with their colleagues from Africa and South East Asia.
"It was an enriching experience, and I am thankful for it," informed Khadrea Folkes, legal officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, who did a three-week course in labour and employment relations in a global economy.
Folkes' colleague, Peta-Gay Pryce, who is an HIV programme manager in the said ministry, shared the sentiments. "It was a holistic experience; apart from gaining academic proficiency, we learnt a lot by intercultural interaction."
"I was particularly impressed by the entrepreneurial acumen of the people," said Shellene Reynolds-Berry who did an eight-week course 'Trainers Training on Self-Help Groups Formation, Growth & Sustenance'.
Reynolds-Berry said that she was exposed to fresh perspectives and ideas, which she wants to implement in Jamaica. "I want to empower the communities and help them to grow," she said.
The participants added that they were thankful for this experience, which also helped in dispelling myths. "Our exposure to India would have been the time when we studied religious education in high school," said Folkes. "Going there, we experienced the first-class infrastructure, the colour, food, and hospitality."
The all-expense-paid ITEC programme covers a wide variety of subjects from information technology (IT), parliamentary studies, accounts and finance, mass communication, rural development, teachers' training, bank management, educational planning and administration, entrepreneurship development, standardisation and quality assurance, food technology, tool design, poultry training, manpower research, statistical education, non-conventional energy resources, IT in law enforcement, entrepreneurship and small business development among others.
Based on the demand and with an objective for the participants to replicate knowledge acquired, the government of India has announced an increase in the allocation of seats for Jamaica.
"For the financial year 2012-13 (April to March) the government of India has allocated 19 seats for Jamaica, 10 for The Bahamas, and two for Turks & Caicos Islands," informed the Indian high commissioner. "It is our desire that through ITEC, the participants not only contribute tangibly to their respective countries, but also help develop bilateral relations."