For the first time for India, the Colombo Plan Staff College and Labtech International Ltd. collaborated with the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR) in Chennai to extend the benefits of its partnership by holding an online in-country program on Automotive Technology Using Virtual TVET. Held for four days from March 21-24, 2022, the program was able to involve a total of 34 automotive technology instructors in India and was held via Zoom.

Supervising the program are Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, CPSC Director General; Dr. Steven McKee, President of Labtech International Ltd; and Prof. Dr. Usha Natesan, Director of NITTTR Chennai, India. In addition, the program’s resources and logistics were facilitated by Mr. Brad Ker, General Manager of Labtech Academy. Local coordination and resources were facilitated by Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel, Professor of EECE & Head, Center for International Affairs in NITTTR Chennai.

The opening ceremony was held on March 21 and was facilitated by Prof. Wickramasinghe and Prof. Dr. Kulanthaivel. In his speech, Prof. Wickramasinghe welcomed the participants and elaborated on the benefits of this virtual training to the knowledge exchange and enhancement of the participants’ skills in lieu of the requirements of education during the ongoing pandemic. Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Kulanthaivel acknowledged the role of CPSC and NITTTR in contributing to the change in TVET by facilitating this program even through virtual means. He also expressed his appreciation and support of Labtech for coming up with a relevant program that is suitable and compliant with the learning needs of today.

Prof. Wickramasinghe (left/top) and Prof. Kulanthaivel (right/bottom) during their respective opening speeches.

The program covered topics related to the introduction to automotive systems such as basic engine fundamentals, electricity, and electronics, braking systems, wheels and drive systems, steering and suspension systems. It also goes into developing the students’ knowledge and skills, leading to more advanced studies such as petrol and diesel fuel, systems, engine management, transmissions, and hybrid vehicles.

Prof. Dr. Usha Natesan, Director of NITTTR Chennai, India (left) and Dr. Steven McKee, President of Labtech International Ltd.,(right) during the closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony was held on March 24, 2022 and was graced by key persons including: Mr. Shahrir Shafiek, program Resource Person and Deputy Head of the UTHM-Labtech Digital Innovation Center, Malaysia and Prof. Dr. Usha Natesan, Director, NITTTR Chennai, India. In addition, Dr. Steven McKee, President of Labtech International Ltd., attended the program as well. Dr. Natesan congratulated the participants for their attendance at the program and expressed her hope that other training programs of similar nature will be organized again. She also mentioned her optimism that due to the changes in TVET, these training will continue to be in demand in the future. Her observations were seconded by Dr. McKee, who praised the enthusiasm and dedication of the participants while noting the need to further organize this training for more participants in the future.

Group picture of the participants