The Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) conducted a Champion Leaders Development Program on TVET Skills for Poverty Alleviation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Government of Fiji. The program, attended by 29 participants from various ministries and educational institutions in Fiji, was held from December 2 – 6, 2013 at the IT Training Room, Ministry of Finance, Suva, Fiji. This is the 12th Special In-Country Program which is part of the CPSC-Government of India Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation (SDPA) project.

The overall aim of the training program is to strengthen the capability of participants to formulate plans, design, and implement programs in Fiji on different aspects of poverty alleviation through the development of TVET skills.

The opening program was graced by notable personalities in Fiji such as Mr. Ajay Singh, Director Training, Public Service Commission; Mr. Tomasi Naborisi, Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education; Mr. Meleti Bainimanama, Director, Poverty Alleviation Unit; and Chief Guest Mr. Rupeni Fatiaki, Director, Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation. 

In his opening address, the Chief Guest expressed the privilege to officiate the opening program on behalf of the Permanent Secretary. He mentioned that the week’s workshop offers the opportunity for participants to learn and develop approaches that will assist in developing and delivering need-based capacity building programs focused on technical and vocational skills to address poverty. He further mentioned that the workshop brings to the fore the necessity of working in collaboration internally and externally, so that resources are smartly utilized and outcomes are measured and projected as indicators of national interest.

“Poverty Alleviation is a key pillar under the millennium development agenda as well as in national development plans as part of the commitment to address the reduction of poverty to a negligible level”, expressed the Chief Guest.

The CPSC Director General Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, through a recorded video message, welcomed the guests and participants. He expressed his regrets for not being able to attend the opening ceremony due to an equally important mission. He conveyed his appreciation to the Government of the Republic of India for providing a grant, which made the SDPA in-country programs possible. 

The program was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Romulita Alto, CPSC Faculty Consultant (1997-2001) and Research Consultant of Technological Institute of the Philippines and assisted by Ms. Adrienne Abril, CPSC Executive Secretary. Ms. Rina Roshni Chand, Senior Education Officer of Ministry of Education, Fiji acted as Local Coordinator.

Prof. Romulita Alto during her first theme paper presentation

Prof. Alto delivered lectures and facilitated tasks related to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) skills for poverty alleviation, generic skills for employability, and social entrepreneurship for poverty alleviation. Mr. Thompson Yuen, Senior Economic Planning Officer of the Ministry of Strategic Planning also took part on the program through sharing the current initiatives and innovative practices in poverty alleviation in Fiji. 

In conjunction with the ICP, a National Seminar on TVET Skills for Enhancing Youth Employability: Perspectives & Strategies was held on December 4, 2013 at the Ministry of Strategic Planning, Suva, Fiji, attended by 60 participants. (See related story)