Primary education and vocational training are important cornerstones of Switzerland's international cooperation. Ignazio Cassis, Federal Councillor and Head of Department of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), pointed out in his address how dual vocational education and training was particularly important to Switzerland's success story.
The second edition of the annual International Cooperation (IC) Forum focused on "Education4Future". The hybrid event offered a varied insight into different initiatives and projects that pursue the common goal of strengthening education in the global South. SDC Director Patricia Danzi reminded the audience that the promotion of education at all levels in the partner countries of international cooperation continues to require a great deal of commitment and, above all, financial support.
Swisscontact was able to showcase its broad project portfolio and how it is working towards more relevance of (vocational) education and training offers and stronger resilience of education systems. Besides Swisscontact having a stand in the marketplace, five projects supported by Switzerland and implemented by Swisscontact were presented and discussed on the main stage and in the working sessions.
The Professional Technical Training project in Bolivia kicked things off in a live broadcast to La Paz during the opening session. It explained how access to technical education and training can be improved. A project partner, the ENSEC Technical Institute, presented its work and showed what has been achieved so far. Beneficiaries also had their say, such as former student Javier Morrón Aguilera. The training courses at the partner institutions strengthen the employability of graduates and help to reduce poverty and boost economic growth.
The second part of the programme, the parallel working sessions, focused on three other Swisscontact projects. Nowsheen Sharmila, communications officer for the ASTHA project, explained to the audience how the project in Bangladesh responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to develop a digital platform for training content.
Swisscontact's Country Director in Ukraine, Sonja Loosli, showed how the EdUP project provides access to substantial training courses for aspiring plumbers, even under the most difficult conditions in Ukraine.
Programme Manager Daniel Weibel described in detail the experiences of the two projects Skills for Competitiveness and Sustainable Tourism Education Development Project in Indonesia. These have not only helped vocational schools to offer better training, but at the same time have strengthened the vocational training system on a systemic level.