29 October 2021
The Gandhi Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills, inspired by two international icons, was launched on 28 October 2021, in the month of the Mahatma’s birth. This Centre is a reflection of the strong, historical, unbreakable bond between India and South Africa.
High Commissioner of India to South Africa, Jaideep Sarkar and South African Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela officially opened the Centre at the Tshwane South TVET College, Pretoria West Campus.
Following India’s ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ meaning the world is one family, Sarkar said that India strongly believes that no one nation can progress in isolation and that this project would serve as a rightful example on how countries can work together in achieving the dream of collective growth and development.
Sarkar said that both Mandela and Gandhi understood that centuries of poverty, deprivation and under-development could not be reversed without better education; in fact, Mandela said ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.
“But education by and of itself is not enough in today’s global economy. The modern economy cannot employ large numbers of people on the basis of basic literacy alone. To be employable today one needs to be educated but also skilled. Further, these skills need to be continuously updated to meet the needs of a rapidly changing global economy. Most countries including India and South Africa have responded by making skill development as a new policy vertical but eventually major changes may have to be made in the way we educate ourselves so that our education system supplies the economy with the skills it needs to transform and grow. Otherwise, our countries will continue to face on the one hand a shortage of highly trained workers, and on the other a surplus of conventionally educated youth, who possess little or no job skills,” Sarkar said.
The government of India injected R48 million worth of equipment and tools towards the establishment of the Gandhi-Mandela Centre. Manamela said that aspiring mechanical fitters, boilermakers, electricians and millwrights, who are apprentices and employed by the industry, are benefiting from this investment. He also said that India’s investment has increased the number of Centres of Specialisation from the 26 initially planned to 30 and will contribute to South Africa’s job creation and poverty alleviation goals.
The decision to name this Centre of Specialisation after such great men as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, should serve as inspiration and motivation to take responsibility of our own development.
Manamela said, “Through their lived example, both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi didn’t just dedicate their lives to the fight against injustice, but also sought to bring out the best qualities in each and every human being. It will therefore be a fitting tribute to these two giants if we use this Centre of Specialisation to empower our young people with the relevant skills to transform their lives and those of their communities, and to inculcate in them the spirit of service to humanity.”
Manamela said that South Africa values the partnership with the government and people of India and look forward to many more collaborative projects that will help both countries address their national development goals.