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Japan looks forward to more Myanmar students taking part in a student exchange program this year, said Koetsu Yamazaki, president of Kanazawa University in Kanazawa Japan.
“We hope to increase the number of students from Myanmar, but we have not decided yet how many students we are going to accept this year,” Koetsu Yamazaki told The Myanmar Times.
The Japanese government signed a memorandum of agreement with two Myanmar universities – the College of Science and Engineering, Department of Geology, Dagon University in 2016, and University of Medicine 2 Yangon in 2013 – as international partner institutions in the student exchange program.
According to the agreement, the Japanese government will take nine doctoral course students and one research student sent by the Myanmar government in 2017.
Koetsu said the exchange program with Myanmar is mainly focused on teachers and professors from medical and engineering institutions, for master and doctoral courses, and research students.
“Even though we would like to supply other universities, there are no available professors. That’s why we could not sign agreements with the Myanmar government for other universities,” he said.
According to Kanazawa University, in 2017, it took in nearly 250 students from ASEAN countries in its students exchange programme, most of whom were from Indonesia.
The university said the Japanese government accepted 112 students from Indonesia, three from Cambodia, 24 from Malaysia, 10 from Myanmar, one from the Philippines, 26 from Thailand and 71 from Vietnam.
“Some programs are dependent on the budget, which mostly comes from JICA. That’s why we could not provide scholarship programmes for ASEAN countries recently,” Koetsu said.
He added that about 130 million yen (US$1.17 million/K1.58 billion) has been set aside for the international student exchange program each year, although this budget is not enough for scholarships.
“Human development is important. Therefore we are trying to supply it in every field, such as humanities, law, regional development, mathematics, medicine, pharmacy and biological science,” Koetsu said.
Akemi Hayashi, director of the Global Affairs Support Office of Kanazawa University, said the Japanese government accepts 50 to 70 international students from ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, every year, and it is looking forward to accepting more than 100 students from ASEAN countries this year.
She said the university term begins in April and the students have been invited through the government.
“I believe that we could invite more students from Myanmar, and I hope that there will be more long-term students,” she said.