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JICA Nepal: Celebrating 120 years of education partnership

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

JICA Nepal: Celebrating 120 years of education partnership

Nepal has had a friendly relationship with Japan for a long time. The diplomatic relations between  Japan and Nepal was established in 1956. To further strengthen the alliance between the two countries, Japan has been providing Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs in several sectors in  Nepal to support its development. It has helped foster human resources, technology transfer and  infrastructure development through various technical cooperation projects.  

As part of its cooperation in the capacity building segment, Japan supports in dispatching Nepalese  students to Japan for further education courses such as masters, doctorate etc. So far, many Nepalese  students have undertaken various courses, pursued degrees in various fields, and have benefitted  immensely.  

Ekai Kawaguchi, a Buddhist monk, was the first Japanese to visit Nepal. He had visited Nepal in  1899 at the age of 34 and stayed at Boudhanath temple for a few months, on his pilgrimage to Tibet.  The cultural ties between Nepal and Japan began from 1899 when people-to-people contact started. In 1902, a few years after Ekai’s visit to Nepal, the history of Nepalese students in Japan started with eight Nepalese students. Since then, Nepalese students have started going to Japan for higher study. 

When we think of Japan, we think of discipline, courteous nature, and hard work, innovative and  advanced technology etc. Japan was able to grow economically and become a leading country in  manufacturing precisely because of the advanced knowledge and technology fostered by its excellent  education system. Using its state-of-the-art science, technology and medicine, Japan has introduced  many products to the world, including electric vehicles, digital cameras, optical fibers etc. The  practice of transforming innovative ideas into creative products goes far back into Japanese history.  Japanese schools focus not only on academic achievements but also on the development of human  quality. This aspect of Japanese schools is highly appreciated by international students who think the  studying experience in Japan helps them immensely after they start working.

Japanese universities are well reputed and world-renowned which is why any international student  who gets an opportunity to study in Japan considers it a great achievement. Japan is also known as  a good place to live, providing a conducive living environment with safe and secure infrastructures.  Any foreigner living in Japan will tell you great things about living in the Land of the Rising Sun. Even  international students who feel anxious after leaving their home country can find some peace of  mind while staying in Japan. Japanese people are known to be hardworking and attach importance  to discipline. The attitude of caring for guests by giving them the highest priority is second nature  to Japanese people, and thus international students are always welcomed warmly.

“I was able to make many friends from Japan and other countries, actively communicate, participate  in lots of extracurricular activities, and enjoy a full lifestyle.”  

“I was able to engage in fulfilling research activities surrounded by fantastic professors as  exceptional guides and in an outstanding university environment!” – Excerpt from a previous  international student in Japan.

Studying in Japan has been quite a popular choice among many aspiring students who want to study  abroad or overseas. The number of foreign students from Nepal is increasing year after year, with  approximately 18,500 Nepali foreign students coming to Japan in 2021 making it third globally. The  Japanese government has also been encouraging foreigners to seize opportunities in the country. 

Japan is always known for its excellent quality of education. The country has appeared in the top-tier  list of the best education system in the world for the past several years. Considering how great the  education is in Japan, it will not be surprising to see them continue to be one of the world’s best when  it comes to the academics aspect.

Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) 

The Japanese Grant Aid for “The project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS)” to  Nepal began in 2016. Currently, JDS offers 20 seats for 2-year Master’s degree and 2 seats for  Doctoral degree for government officials of Nepal to study in renowned universities in Japan, with  an objective to resolve development challenges in Nepal. The selected participants enhance their  expertise in respective professional areas ranging widely from judicial sectors, economic policy,  industrialization, to infrastructure, and develop a broad network at the global level. The project enables  the young leaders to catalyze the development agenda back in Nepal.  

The objective of the JDS is to strengthen the government’s administrative capacities in Nepal for the  young and capable government employees who are expected to engage in formulating and  implementing social and economic development plans and thus play leadership roles to contribute to  the development of the country.  

JDS has built its wide alumni network amounting to more than 80 JDS fellows across key ministries of Nepal building a strong alumni network. At present, 42 civil servants are undertaking Master’s and  PhD courses in prestigious Japanese universities. JICA always has and always will aim to contribute  to strengthening human resources in Nepal, which is indispensable for delivering better public services  to the people.  

This year, 2022, is the 120th anniversary of the International Student Exchange between Nepal  and Japan. Nepal is celebrating the 120th anniversary in the year 2022 since the first Nepalese  students were dispatched to Japan and Japan marks this anniversary as one of “Japan-South Asia  Exchange Year”. 

To commemorate the occasion JICA Nepal has produced a promotional video highlighting the  experience of studying in Japan focusing on the implementation strategy applicable in the workplace and  the impact it has had on the career of various Nepalese individuals.