The Indian government will continue to provide an additional 25 scholarships a year for Lao officials and students to study in India, it was announced last week.
The ongoing support comes under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
Under the ITEC programme all expenses including international airfares, accommodation and living costs as well as the tuition fees of the selected personnel are borne by India.
An official from the Indian Embassy said the programme was focused on addressing the needs of friendly developing countries through innovative technical cooperation between India and the partnering nation.
Personnel training under ITEC covers a wide and varied range of sectors including cultural relations, information and technology (IT), telecommunications, English, public administration, SMEs, entrepreneurship and rural development.
Ambassador of India to Laos, Mr. Ravi Shankar Aisola, spoke to Lao alumni and officials at an event concerning the programme held at India House last week, saying “We continue to support about 25 scholarships to Laos every year including graduate and postgraduate degrees under this scheme.”
He said India offers over 100 scholarship programmes for Lao public servants under the ITEC scheme and its sister scheme TCS under the Colombo Plan.
Currently Laos has been utilising nearly 75-80 percent of the slots available.
The ITEC Programme is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India.
The Ministry offers over 10,000 scholarship slots to countries around the world. Some 50 training institutions in India conduct nearly 300 training courses for foreign scholars’ training courses, Mr. Aisola said.
The ITEC is a demand driven programme based upon requests received from friendly countries.
Results of feasibility studies and consultancy services carried out at the request of partner countries are handed over to the governments concerned free of charge to use in a manner deemed appropriate by them, he added.
Although the ITEC programme is essentially bilateral in nature, in recent years it has been used for cooperation programmes under regional groupings including ASEAN and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.
According to the Indian Embassy, overall India has provided over 1,000 scholarships to Lao nationals, of which 150 were for graduate and postgraduate degrees.
The number of scholarships awarded to Lao students increased from 65 in 2007 to 125 in 2008 and to over 150 in 2010. From 2010 onwards, the embassy has provided 150 scholarships annually to Lao students, officials and professionals under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme, as well as the Technical Cooperation Scheme of the Colombo Plan and the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
The ITEC programme was launched in 1964 as an instrument of India’s cooperation policy. India has provided over US$2 billion worth of technical assistance under the programme and Laos is a major beneficiary.
Source: Vientiane Times