Working Session on Skills Development (Bangalore, India)
Bangalore, India, Thursday, February 27, 2014
I am pleased to be in Bangalore for this working session on skills development.
The purpose of my State visit to India is to strengthen the partnerships that exist between our two countries, particularly in the areas of education, innovation and entrepreneurship—with a special focus on the contributions of women and girls.
As you may know, I spent much of my career prior to becoming governor general as a university administrator, and the subject of learning is close to my heart.
Education—including skills development—is among the shared priorities for Canada and India, and I am optimistic about our potential to achieve great things together.
It is so important that we do. With 60 per cent of the Indian population between the age of 18 and 36, there is strong demand for skills development in this country.
Canadians, meanwhile, are eager to work with Indians on this challenge.
Canada is a leader in providing education and skills for employment throughout the world, sharing our vision of training individuals for employment and full participation in society.
In Canada, we strive to have both equality of opportunity and excellence too. We don’t see these as mutually exclusive goals but rather as mutually reinforcing ones. We believe we can achieve both—and that we must, if we are to achieve our goal of building a smarter, more caring nation in a fairer, more just world.
As an aside, let me share with you the motto of our country’s highest honour, the Order of Canada:
DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM—that’s Latin for “They desire a better country.”
For all of the wonderful differences between Canada and India, I am sure that all Indians likewise desire a better country.
As governor general, I have visited countries and communities in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean, talking with people about learning and partnerships. I can therefore say with certainty that Canada is sought out globally for its strengths in developing training programs and curricula. Our learning institutions are renowned for their ability to work with communities and industries to tailor programs for specific needs.
Here in India, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and its members are eager to explore the education and training market. Last year, 20 Canadian institutions were part of the Association’s missions to India.
I am pleased to note the Association has signed an MOU with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to pursue opportunities in skills collaboration. It has also been encouraged by the National Skills Development Corporation to play a role in the development of sector-specific skills councils.
And between them, the member universities of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada have more than 400 agreements with Indian institutions.
This is great progress, and I am certain we can achieve much more together. Aviation, digital media, engineering and life sciences are just some of the important areas in which Canadian and Indian institutions can collaborate.
Thank you for being here today for this important discussion. I look forward to hearing your views.