Jamaicans benefit from professional training in India
"I have visited many countries around the world," said Mitsy Beaumont-Daley, senior legal officer, Ministry of National Security, Jamaica. "However, India was the most interesting, amazing, and incredible of them all."
A great endorsement for the land of colour, diversity, and the proverbial curry, one would fathom, but Beaumont-Daley's reference is from her experiences participating in the Certificate in Legislative Drafting programme at the Parliament House in the capital city of New Delhi.
She is one of the more than 290 Jamaican professionals who have benefited from the government of India's Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
"ITEC's key objective is to facilitate development for developing countries by way of establishing and maintaining bilateral relations," said M. Sevala Naik, high commissioner of India to Jamaica. "The ITEC programme is essentially bilateral in nature."
The focus area of ITEC is training and capacity building. Professionals from developing countries get the opportunity to participate in training courses.
"The courses are structured to equip professionals with skills that will prepare them for an increasingly globalised world," Naik said. "The Indian government working with Indian institutes offer long-term and short-term technical and specialised training courses."
These courses cover a range of specialities from accounts, audit, banking and finance, management, IT, telecommunications, English, to environment and renewable energy and E-Governance, among others.
"India is sharing its experience of economic-growth story, learning skills, and professional knowledge with Jamaica," he said, adding, "Jamaicans can apply the professional knowledge gained from India under ITEC in various Jamaican Government ministries and departments, which will improve efficiency and transparency."
For Beaumont-Daley, the professional training was enriched by the cultural experiences, breaking certain perceptions and stereotypical notions.
"My perception of India was limited and was based solely on what I had seen on television, that is, India was overpopulated, the cuisine was limited to spicy foods and curry, and that Indian women only wore traditional garb," she said.
She got first-hand experience of what life was like in the world's largest democracy. It began with gastronomy, of course.
"Indian food is very diverse, and the cuisine varies from region to region," Beaumont-Daley said, adding that the biggest revelation was about the curry.
"Curry was but one of the many spices used in the various dishes," she recalled. "Not only were the dishes tasty, but they were very appealing to the eyes."
For Ranford Campbell, geographic information system coordinator at the National Environment and Planning Agency, who completed Advanced certificate from the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) in Dehradun, a north India city, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, his eight-week experience was enriching. "The institute was state of the art with all the modern, cutting-edge technologies," he said. "The learning experience was fantastic."
Being in a relatively smaller town in India, Campbell said that he was astonished, and the fun began from day one.
"Being a Jamaican there was never a dull moment. The people were just rushing to touch me or hold my hand," he recalled. "They were excited to see someone from Jamaica. They worship Jamaican icons Usain Bolt and Bob Marley."
The ITEC programme began in 1964, with the objective of providing assistance and support to developing countries. The programme forms part of the government of India's Development Partnership Initiative, which facilitates development cooperation through grant assistance, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and educational scholarship programmes on a long-term and short-term basis.
"The programme is a visible symbol of India's role and contribution to South - South Cooperation," the high commissioner said. "Since its inception, US$10m (approximately J$130m) has been spent."
For Beaumont-Daley and Campbell, like their other colleagues who have got a chance to be a part of ITEC, the knowledge process has given them a new perspective.
"The programme afforded me the opportunity to observe the parliamentary operations in New Delhi and Bhopal (city in central India) and to share experiences with other participants from 39 other countries around the world," Beaumont-Daley said.
"I would recommend this programme," Campbell said. "Many people from Jamaica have already benefited from the programme, and the technology and skills can assist our country."
He said that this opportunity needed to be publicised so that more Jamaicans could benefit.
"The Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade should create a separate desk for the handling of the ITEC programme," Naik said. "This desk should be made responsible for circulating the ITEC scholarship scheme to various ministries."
The participants of ITEC have stories to tell, from their training to exploring the land. "I was able to establish and build long-standing friendships with some persons who trained with me," Beaumont-Daley said. "These friendships still exist today."
She said that the warmth of the people touched her, recalling that she, along with some other participants, happened to walk to a wedding next door to the hotel where they were staying.
"We were welcomed with open arms," she said. "We were even asked to sit at the head table and participated heavily in the scheduled activities at the wedding - giving toasts.
"It was an absolutely fascinating experience and one that I would be happy to relive," she said.
More information on ITEC can be had from:
High Commission of India
Phone: 1-876-978-6232 or 927-3114
Marketing Assistant (ITEC)
High Commission of India