With the new government in Delhi making skill development a major national priority, India is deftly blending diplomacy with forging a multi-pronged skill and knowledge partnership with a host of countries. Germany, with its proven prowess in vocational education, has emerged as India’s preeminent partner of choice to fructify the Asian country’s demographic dividend.
Against this backdrop, the two countries co-organised a conference entitled “Skilled Germany, Skilled India – The Dual System: State and Business”, at the German Embassy in the Indian capital October 8. The conference focused on deepening the Indo-German cooperation in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET).
The idea of partnering in the field of vocational education and training acquired an added traction after a telephonic conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July.
In his opening speech, German ambassador Michael Steiner encapsulated key themes of this burgeoning knowledge partnership between Asia’s third largest economy and Europe’s economic powerhouse. “Today’s conference is about the most important treasure we have: it is about our youth, in India and Germany; it is about their education and their future. VET is perhaps the most underestimated source of prosperity. Its importance goes far beyond its economic relevance – which of course is tremendous!”
Sarbananda Sonowal, India’s Minister of State for Sports & Youth Affairs, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, participated in the conference, and was joined by several senior Indian and German officials working in this area.
The conference will set the tone for the 7th meeting of the Indo-German Joint Working Group on October 9-10 in New Delhi.
This skill cooperation with Germany promises to bring enormous advantage to India as 12 million young Indians enter the labour market every year. Indian policy-makers look at Germany as an ideal partner as Europe’s most industrialized economy has a proven track record in bridging the gap between school and the labour market with its acclaimed system of dual vocational training that entails a close partnership between government and businesses.
Skill-development has become a national mission under Prime Minister Modi’s watch. In his recent visit to the US, Mr Modi proactively sought to buttress knowledge and skill partnership. The US will partner in the Digital India Initiative and Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN, which means knowledge in Hindi), which seeks to prepare young Indians for the 21st century jobs through creating global standards for skill development in India.
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