Swiss and Indian actors have been working together for several years in the area of vocational education and training (VET). Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 provides a new framework for the cooperation initiative that began back in 2008.
Strategy and objectives of Swiss-Indian cooperation in VET
Swiss-Indian bilateral cooperation in VET is intended to enable actors in both countries (e.g. Swiss companies with production facilities on Indian soil) to create suitable conditions for a labour market-oriented dual-track VET model. In particular, the private sector is encouraged to provide workplace training within this framework of VET. At the same time, pedagogical training is provided to vocational school teachers, workplace trainers and examiners. In addition, the training content of existing VET programmes in India is adapted and updated and steps are taken to improve the visibility of (Swiss) partners that pursue VET activities in India.
Cooperation project to transfer VET expertise to India
In 2008, during commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Swiss-Indian friendship, a pilot project was launched to transfer aspects of Swiss dual-track VET model to India. Two main objectives were set for the Swiss VET Initiative India (SVETII): improve the competitiveness of Swiss companies in India and provide young workers in India with dual-track VET programmes that were highly correlated with the needs of the labour market.
In 2014, the pilot project was evaluated. One of the identified problem areas was ensuring the sustainability of the initiative. Since then, subsequent activities have been focussed on quality control. In the summer of 2015, SERI began support for a two-year quality assurance project to build on the achievements of SVETII. The aim of this follow-up project is to improve the quality and sustainability of SVETII and broaden its scope by developing and testing pedagogical training courses for vocational school teachers, workplace trainers and examiners. The training content of the corresponding dual-track VET programmes was already established during the pilot phase of SVETII. The follow-up project will also serve to consolidate relations with government officials.
Memorandum of Understanding signed by Switzerland and India
At the second International VPET Congress held in Winterthur in 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the fields of Skill Development as well as Vocational and Professional Education and Training was signed by the Indian Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, responsible for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and State Secretary Mauro Dell’Ambrogio. Over the next three years, the two countries will be working more closely together in this area, which will include support for specific projects. In addition, a joint working group was set up to work out the details of cooperation and decide on corresponding action steps.
Possibilities for project subsidies from SERI
Cooperation with India in skills formation has shown that a pilot project launched by the private sector has the best chances of achieving international anchoring of dual-track VET programmes at structural level. In addition, cooperation has enhanced the image of the Swiss VPET system. In this light, SERI is able to provide subsidiary support to projects that involve strong public-private partnership components and help to improve local conditions for the introduction of dual-track VET programmes.