Since September, 1964 when it was founded as a foreign policy initiative of the Indian government, to render assistance to fellow countries especially of the Commonwealth stock, ITEC has brought about, bonds of friendship and mutual exchange of ideas in very many areas of study.
According to the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. A. R. Ghanashyam: ‘’The aim of this annual celebration is to foster mutual bonds of friendship among the alumni and strengthen the networking platform. ITEC offers 280 short, medium and long term courses every year in 48 selected institutions…..” Such disciplines include: Information Technology, Public Administration, Gender issues, Election management, Small and Medium Enterprises, Rural Development, Solar Engineering, Commerce, Science, Media and e-Governance.
This implies that the Nigerian Government stands to gain lots of dividends especially in the areas of ICT and defence to enable us tackle the current security challenges in the country.
Nigeria and India have a lot in common. Aside from being colonized by the same colonial master, they are also blessed with vast population as well as landmass and other demographic characteristics. Thus, they can be said to traverse similar terrains in terms of development. This programme is a most welcome development as it provides a rich opportunity for the two countries to bring about a melting pot of ideas and exchange of programmes viz: cultural, educational, tourist, medical and others. As India is known worldwide as one of the major global brands for ICT, the Government of India has invested heavily through ITEC and its corollary Commonwealth programme, SCAAP. This 2013/2014 session alone, over 10, 000 scholarship slots have been offered.
Over the past years, the Federal Minstry of Information along with other MDAs have had the opportunity to engage in the programme. Those who returned brought back positive reports about the courses, teachers, wonderful cuisine and the good people of India. This in turn has brought about great improvement and efficiency in service delivery in all aspects of government.
The Ministry is one of the foremost beneficiaries of this relationship as there is no year that staff do not benefit from this initiative. Two members of staff from the Information Ministry for instance, shared how they benefitted tremendously from the e-Governance and Leadership skills development courses.
While commending the Government and people of India for extending this partnership and collaboration to Nigeria, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, who made a clarion call for the increase of slots for more staff participation stated: “For the 2014/2015 session, unlike past years, six staff of the Ministry of Information have been invited for interview at the High Commission, the highest number so far, and still counting, as I remain positive that some more will be invited soon. Like Oliver Twist, I will still ask for more.”
Aside from promoting fellowship, camaraderie and mutual friendship, such a forum could also serve as an opportunity for rubbing minds on past, present and future trends in order to project for better future media and inter-governmental relations. To this end, a provision of a feedback monitoring mechanism is hereby recommended as part of enhancing greater networking between the two countries. In this, the Bilateral Relations Division of the Ministry can be given appropriate upgrading and funding to enable this onerous task be capably implemented.
The Nigerian Government commends this initiative of the Indian Government as an embodiment of unflinching commitment and co-operation which has constantly enriched the Nigerian workspace with a motivated workforce and vast developmental experience and also prays that this spirit will continue to spread its branches of enlightenment far and wide to every nook and cranny of the African continent.
Offiong Ememmaria, a Principal Information Officer serves in the Department of Public Communication.
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