Embassy of Japan in Nepal

People's Exchanges

The 100th Anniversary of Nepali Students in Japan

Symposium on
A Century of Nepali Students in Japan and Perspective for the 21st Century

April 7, 2002.

Contribution of Japan - Trained Nepalese to Our Development

Dr. B. P. Shrestha

  1. Introduction:

    At the request of JUSAN, I have readily agreed to write a short paper on the contribution towards economic development in Nepal by those Nepalese who studied in Japan, not because the relevant information and data are available, but because some study of this nature, however rudimentary, should be initiated to stimulate discussion and inspire further studies on the subject in future. It is also intended to impress upon the concerned authorities the need to collect and compile information and data on such subjects. Even if the necessary information and data are available, it is not easy to make a precise assessment of the contribution to Nepal's development by those Nepalese who had received higher education and training in Japan under JICA and Monbusho scholarships. However, an attempt is made here to do so on the basis of whatever information available - more to stimulate further studies than to draw any firm conclusions other than some general observations.

    Education means not only the acquisition of knowledge and skill. It is also a process of inculcation of great human virtues. Those who were trained and educated in Japan might have imbibed such virtues which contributed immensely to Japanese development after Meiji Restoration (1868) and also after World War II. As rightly pointed out, "Japan's education system played a central role in enabling the country to meet the challenges presented by the need to quickly absorb western ideas, science and technology in the Meiji period (1868-1912), and it was also a very factor in Japan's recovery and rapid economic growth in the decades following the end of World War II." Japan built her economy on the solid foundation of education. "Even in the rural areas, the educational standard was reasonably high, as shown by the fact that the literacy ratio at the time of the initiation of the new education system with the 1872 degree of education was already about 30%". After Meiji Restoration, "The Government proclaimed that the people of Japan had three civic duties: to go to school, to pay tax and to serve in the army".

  2. Training in Japan :

    Over the period of past 30 years (1970-2000) Japan's official development assistance to Nepal amounted to 249.83 billion of which grant assistance amounted to 141.34 billion (56.6%), loan assistance, 63.88 billion (25.6%) and technical assistance 44.60 billion (17.8%). Under the technical assistance program, 2824 Nepalese received training in Japan and third countries in various subjects and for varying periods. Half of those Nepalese received training in 1990s, one-fourth up to 1982 and one-fifth during 1980s, indicating expanding training in the recent years. Since half of them were trained only in recent years and since JICA trainees were almost entirely from HMG service, it may be assumed that many of them may be still in services, contributing directly or indirectly, to development process with their enhanced efficiency from training and exposure to the Japanese skill and the way of life from which one could have learned a great deal and developed a positive attitude to work and responsibility.

    JICA technical assistance includes dispatch of JICA experts, Japanese mission members, JOCV volunteers and supply of equipments as well as training and seminar participation of the Nepalese in Japan and project specific counterpart training and JOCV volunteer counterpart training for the Nepalese in Japan. Subject-wise classification of the group training course, seminar and counterpart training over a period of seven years from 1994/95 to 2000/01, considering as a sample, shows that out of the total of 674 trainees and seminar participants, 42.4% of them were in the fields of science, technology, engineering, agriculture (including allied subjects) and health (including related areas) and another 44.5% was related to a plethora of subjects such as development economics, crime prevention, statistics, city planning, status of women and gender - related subjects, taxation, auditing etc.

    As the counterpart training is related to the Japanese government assisted specific development projects, such training is obviously intended to enhance the efficiency and know-how of those already working in such projects as counterparts of the Japanese experts and JOCV volunteers, thus contributing directly to the development process. Such counterpart training accounted for almost one-third of the total. On the whole, it appears that the areas of training and seminars are designed to meet the needs of the recipient country in its development process in such areas as agriculture, health, engineering, science, technology, management etc.

    So far as the duration of training and seminars is concerned, about one-fifth of the trainees and seminar participants spent up to one month and another one-third, up to 2 months. Only 7% spent 4 to 6 months and another 7%, more than 6 months. In other words, by the very nature of the program, the duration of both training and seminar is relatively short -seminar duration obviously much shorter that training.

  3. Monbusho Scholarships and other Programs:

    The information made available to me indicates that the Monbusho scholarships granted to the Nepalese for higher education in Japan are very limited. Over the period of 16 years from 1986 to 2002, only 52 Nepalese students went to Japan for post-graduate studies and another 21 for under-graduate studies under Monbusho scholarships. In the past 4-5 years, the average number of Monbusho scholarships for the post-graduate and under-graduate studies remained five and three, respectively.

    In addition to the Monbusho scholarships and JICA training program, some Nepalese students seem to have managed to receive training and scholarships under non-governmental programs and individual sponsorships on which no information is available. Likewise, the extent of attrition, meaning the number of trainees and students who did not return to Nepal on completion of their training and studies, is also not known.

  4. JUSAN Roster:

    Japan University Students Association, Nepal (JUSAN) maintains a list of 113 members with their addresses, years of study in Japan, institutions of their study, major areas of their studies and the present position they are holding at present in Nepal. Although it is not the complete list of all those who have had university level education in Japan, it could also serve as a sample throwing considerable light on the areas of their studies and the nature of their works and contribution in Nepal at present. One of 113, as many as 83 persons (73.5%) studied science and technology subjects such as the various branches of engineering, medicine, food science, dress designing and other areas of science. The remaining 30 persons (26.5%) studied language, international relations and laws and other subjects. In other words, most of the subjects are of great relevance to our development.

    Interestingly, almost half of them (43 out of 93 on which information is available) reported as working in universities, institutions of higher learning and language institutions, indicating clearly the multiplier effects in terms of training more Nepalese in Nepal with their higher education in Japan. Another 30% reported as working in various capacities in the private sector which is our growing and larger segment of our economy. Only about 9% reported as working with the government. In brief, those who have had university education in Japan are at present using their knowledge and skill in human resource development and private sector development - both crucial to our overall development.

    Table 5 JUSAN Member by Place of Work Place of work Number Percentage 1. Universities , Institutions of Higher Learning & Language 43 46.2 2. Govt. service (Retired also) 8 8.6 3. Private Sector 28 30.1 4. Others 14 15.1 Total 93 100.0 Sources: JUSAN

  5. Concluding Observations:

    1. In the absence of adequate and reliable data base, it is not possible to make any precise assessment of the contribution towards development in Nepal by those Nepalese who have had training and higher education and seminar - exposure in Japan. Even for evaluation of the impact of Japanese technical assistance to Nepal, reliable data base is a necessary pre-condition. It may, therefore, be suggested that the Embassy of Japan, JICA and HMG may explore the possibility of establishing a reliable and comprehensive information and data base on Japanese technical as well as economic cooperation. This is all the more important when we take note of the fact that Japan is one of our major donors and partners in our development process.

    2. Secondly, from the Japanese development experience itself it is quite obvious that trained and skilled human resource is a necessary pre-condition for a higher and sustainable development. No amount of external economic cooperation or no extent of projectwise cooperation can maintain the process of development, unless the necessary man-power of the recipient country is capable of sustaining such externally supported development. It may be suggested that the Japanese cooperation (for that matter all external cooperation) may be reoriented in favor of higher priority to man-power development with high quality modern skill and know-how in a recipient country. As already stated, over the past three decades, technical cooperation accounted for less than one-fifth of the total Japanese official development assistance.

    3. Thirdly, while higher education in Japan for a longer period is constrained by the relatively limited number of Monbusho scholarships, the duration of group training, counterpart training and seminar participation, by the very nature of technical cooperation, remained very short. As mentioned above, more than half of the trainees and seminar participants spend only up to two months in Japan. Only 7% spend more than six months. On consideration of cost-effectiveness and end-product, it is perhaps advisable to look into the question as to whether a longer period for a smaller number is more desirable than a shorter period for a larger number as at present.

    4. Fourthly, if technical cooperation under JICA is to remain as it is, perhaps an intensive and thorough training in a specific subject over a longer period may be expanded with increasing numbers of Monbusho scholarships. At present, as already stated, Monbusho scholarships to Nepal are limited for whatever reasons. Alternatively, as part of the Japanese technical, grant and loan assistance, perhaps training facilities in Nepal itself may be expanded or made available to prepare trained man-power with necessary skill, knowledge and know-how as in medical science at present.

    5. Fifthly, HMG, especially the National Planning Commission, as in the past, should be engaged in manpower planning as thoroughly and specifically as possible, indicting broadly the specific areas where and how much Nepal needs additional trained manpower for implementation of the periodic plans of the government and the private sector. Such manpower planning can serve as a basis for external assistance as well as for expansion or creation of training facilities at home. More than that, such planning can also minimize the mismatch between demand and supply of specific skill as at present, accentuating the problem of educated unemployment with unhappy consequences.

Copyright (c): 2012 Embassy of Japan in Nepal