Leading voices, particularly from the education and skill development sectors of India and Canada, have called for enhanced collaboration between the two countries, to help reskill Indian youth and make them come up to speed with international job market standards faster, especially in a fast-changing post pandemic world. They were speaking at the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) and Pearson hosted “EdTech: Building the India-Canada Knowledge Corridor” webinar and included Ms. Apoorva Srivastava, Consul General, Consulate of India – Toronto, Ms. Denise Amyot, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Colleges and Institutes Canada and Mr. Ved Mani Tiwari, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Officiating CEO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), among others.
The joint session was opened by Ms. Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC, after which Ms. Annabelle Larouche, Counsellor & Senior Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Canada, delivered the opening address. All speakers in both the Fireside Chat and the Panel Discussion which followed, also highlighted the various hurdles to learning that accompanied closing down of institutes as a result of the pandemic and emphasised the need for technology to help bridge that gap, especially in the remote parts of India.
Annabelle Larouche, Counsellor & Senior Trade Commissioner, High Commission of Canada, during her opening address spoke about the growing academic cooperation between the two countries saying, “The two countries signed an MOU in higher education cooperation. Organizations like Mitacs and SICI are acting as key facilitators to enable student mobility programs with the support of government funding. Over 550 agreements are currently active across all disciplines. The Trade Commissioner Service in India is there to facilitate more business and academic partnerships between India and Canada.”
The Fireside Chat titled “Defining the Future of Learning”, was moderated by Ms. Freya Thomas Monk, Senior Vice President, Pearson. Freya was joined by Ms. Apoorva Srivastava and Ms. Denise Amyot.
Ms. Srivastava higlighted the importance of recognising pre-existing job credentials of Indian youth travelling to Canada for higher education better while Ms. Amyot observed that Canada had in fact put in place the PLAR programme- Prior Learning Academic Recognition to help improve the same.
The Panel Discussion was on Leveraging Technology for Higher Education and Skill Development. The session was moderated by Siddharth Banerjee, Managing Director & SVP – India & Asia, Pearson who was joined by Ms. Amyot, and Mr. Ved Mani Tiwari, of the NSDC.
Mr. Tiwari in his remarks said, “When we talk about the integration of education skill, one decisive step that was taken by the Government of India in 2020 was when the national education policy 2020 brought in a convergence of education skill. One of the objectives of the policy was to connect at least 50% of the students with atleast one skill by 2025”
Mr. Tiwari also alluded to the setup of NSDC International, a new independent organization tasked with increasing collaboration in the areas of skill development with key international partners like Canada and urged his fellow speakers from Canada to help utilise that platform better to enhance cooperation in the sector.
The session concluded with Closing Remarks and Vote of Thanks made by Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC.