On April 1, ITEC Day was celebrated in several countries. ITEC or Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program is a bilateral program, which has been providing scholarships to deserving candidates in developing countries including Colombia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and many more.
Colombia has been one of the nations that has benefited from several ITEC programs. Training or capacity building scholarships offered to Colombia have helped prepare the recipients for an increasingly globalized world. ITEC offers 50 scholarship slots to Colombia and 25 to Ecuador annually.
Alvaro Fernando Diaz Castro is one of the scholarship candidates who got a full scholarship for the course, Advanced Internet Technologies through ITEC, which includes visa, air tickets, and a monthly stipend.
“During the three months, I discovered a fantastic reality about the Indian subcontinent that always falls short of what we perceive through movies, books, and stories,” he says.
India’s foreign policy extends development partnerships to many countries. These include lines of credit, grant assistance, technical consultancy, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, educational scholarships as well as many capacity building programs including short-term civilian and military training courses.
ITEC is one such capacity-building program along with Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Program (SCAAP) and Technical Cooperation Scheme (TCS) of Colombo Plan schemes.
As a part of ITEC, in 2013 March, five brave indigenous women of the Wayuu community of the Department of Guajira, learned to engineer and install solar panels in their community, when they got the opportunity to visit the Barefoot College of Rajasthan. Magalis Polanco, Anastasia Garcia de Sabino, Maria Milagro Ibarra Epieyu, Maria Luisa Uriana Ramirez, and Catalina Ipuana stayed in Tilonia, Rajasthan for six months.
After their return, by July of 2016, forty families in the villages of Bocas de Aracataca, Cienaga Magdalena saw lights in their homes through the installation of solar panels with help from the International Ambrosia Corporation and Enel Green Power.
The Barefoot College of Rajasthan was founded in 1972 by Bunker Roy. It aims to better the quality of the life of people living in rural and remote areas, by supplying basic necessities like water, electricity, health, and education. Illiterate or semi-literate women from more than fifty countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have been trained here to provide solar electricity to their communities.
The Indian Cabinet launched ITEC as a bilateral program of assistance of the Government of India on 15 September, 1964. ITEC was set up as part of a belief that India’s foreign policy should be based on solid economic foundations with technical and economic cooperation.
The Indian Ambassador to Colombia and Ecuador, Mr. Ravi Bangar told LATAM.tech that “India as a developing country has been operating this program since 1964 in the spirit of cooperation. The program has benefited our partner countries and its popularity is ever increasing”.
Leidy Liliana Ahumada Castaneda who spent two months in the Center for Development of Advanced Computing in Mohali, Chandigarh, for an advanced course in Special Effects and Techniques for Post-production in Video.
“The spirituality, academic and professional exchange, are inherent qualities achieved in the educational program offered by ITEC. This wonderful opportunity alongside teachers dedicated to teaching and colleagues from all over the world, was an unforgettable set that still enriches my professional design in the audiovisual area in the most special way,” she says.
ITEC has also involved corporate India in its programs. Public and private organizations, NGO sectors, and companies like Infosys, TCS, and Wipro are already roped in. Between 2010 and 2011, a batch of EAFIT students were sent to Infosys Global Education Center in Mysore, Karnataka, for training in the latest software technology.
ITEC’s many cooperation programs cover 161 countries in Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries. These countries are invited to share India’s experiences as a free developing nation by partaking in training opportunities, consultancy services and feasibility studies. ITEC programs have helped spread word about India’s competence in technology and built India’s goodwill and cooperation with developing countries.
“Engaging in ITEC program leads to better understanding, capacity building, and skills enhancement in partner countries,” Mr. Bangar said.
The ITEC or SCAAP program comprises training (civilian and defence) in India of nominees from ITEC partner countries, projects and project related activities such as feasibility studies and consultancy services, deputation of Indian experts abroad, study tours, gifts/donations of equipment at the request of ITEC partner countries, and aid for disaster relief.
Courses in ITEC available to Colombians include courses in accounts, audit, banking, and finance; environment and renewable energy; IT, Telecommunication, and English language; management; SME/rural development; and technical courses. It is a chance for Colombians to not only explore India and its culture, but also a chance to study in renown organizations such as NIIT, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, English and Foreign Languages University, IIM Ahmedabad, and many more.
Any interested Colombian can easily apply by filling up the online form on the ITEC website, after choosing the institute and the course. This process must be done after having applied through ICETEX, who will get the applications to the embassy through the Ministry of External Affairs.