Onlanka News – By Janaka Alahapperuma
Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Dullas Alahapperuma and the High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up facilities at two vocational training centres in Batticaloa District, eastern province in Sri Lanka. The signing ceremony was held today at 11.45 hrs on 21 April at the 2nd Floor of the Minister’s Office, Ministry of Youth Affairs, Nipunatha Piyasa, Elvitigala Mawatha, Colombo-05.
The Indian Government funded new project for setting up of the facilities will be undertaken at District Vocational Training Centre, Vantharamoolai and Rural Vocational Training Centre, Onthachchimadam in Batticaloa District. It will be implemented by Government of India through HMT (I) Ltd under a grant at a total cost of Sri Lankan Rupees 327 million.
The project includes a supply of equipment, up-gradation of four existing vocational training programmes, introducing three new vocational training programmes at Vantharamoolai and supply of equipment and introduction of three vocational courses at Onthachchimadam. As part of the project, the Sri Lanka Vocational Training Authority personnel will be trained in India and as well as instructors from India would provide on-job training to master instructors at the Centre.
Speaking on the occasion, the High Commissioner said that India and Sri Lanka share a special and close partnership and further noted that education was a key dimension of partnership with great prospects for future development in both countries. He recalled the Indian assistance for setting up of additional facilities at Vocational Training Centre in Nagawillua in Puttlam District which was completed last year at a total cost of Sri Lankan rupees 64.19 million. He said that Government of India is committed to assist Sri Lanka in the field of vocational training and some more such projects would be taken up in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka in the future.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Alahapperuma said Sri Lanka has 5 million youth population amounting to 26% percent of the total population and they are the lifeline of our nation. Each year about 150,000 and 130,000 students leave school education system after sitting for the GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) examinations respectively. Hence 92% of the youth is seeking for alternative avenues leading to productive employment opportunities.
Minister Alahapperuma emphasized that his prime responsibility is to formulate national policies and implement youth development programmes to develop youths as future leaders by providing necessary vocational and technical training, developing their entrepreneurial and leadership skills, and enhancing their socio cultural activities. The new phenomenon in the world scenario is the emerging Knowledge Economy. In view of this challenge, it is incumbent upon him to create a youthful skilled labour force to conquer the national and international labour market to keep pace with the latest trends. The Minister further noted that the avowed commitment of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development is to create a skillful and youthful citizen for which he has given the highest priority. The envisaged young citizen country hopes to create would also be an exponent of the Sri Lankan culture, norms and values which we holding high esteem.
The Minister finally said that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development has 18 Institutes under its purview to achieve this objective.
Pictures are seen here Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Youth Affairs & Skills Development and High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha signing and exchanging Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up facilities at two Vocational Training Centres in Batticaloa District.
Source: High Commission of India- Colombo, Sri Lanka