"Kosen" playing a part in SPF's support for the development of Mongolia "Introduction of Japanese-style KOSEN Education in Mongolia"
Introducing Japanese-style technical colleges to resolve the shortages of technicians
Mongolia, which is undergoing rapid economic growth, has seen a construction boom for buildings and bridges in urban areas including the capital Ulan Bator. Yet, with the shortage of technicians, many of the projects are handled by engineers from China, South Korea and North Korea, creating an urgent need to foster human resources required in this sector.
What can be done to resolve the lack of technical workforce? H.E. Mr. Luvsannyam Gantumur, Minister of Education and Science of Mongolia, directed his attention to the Japanese "Kosen" (college of industrial technology) system, as he himself attended a Kosen institution called the Sendai Radiotelegraphy School (today's Sendai National College of Technology) in Japan. He determined that the Kosen system, internationally renowned as an effective way of fostering technicians with practical skills, is highly beneficial for Mongolia in urgent need of technical human resources. The SPF launched the "Introduction of Japanese-style KOSEN Education in Mongolia" program as a single-year project in October 2013.
Launch of the first model class under high expectations
The Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) was chosen to launch the first Japanese Kosen-style class, consisting of a selective group of about 30 top-performing students. Since the use of the Kosen model for this class was not explained at the time of admission, an information session was held for the parents of the students. Fully anticipating the voice of opposition, the SPF was surprised to see a welcoming response, and felt their high expectations for the Japanese-style education program. Even students who used to be frequently late or absent from class, attended the Kosen class every day with enthusiasm. Three Kosen experts, each representing the foundation fields of civil engineering, architecture and welding, were dispatched from Japan for three weeks. Masashi Takada, who graduated from the Tomakomai National College of Technology, provided the know-how of relief mapping, while Nobuyuki Tanaka offered practical workshops on concrete slump test and compression test. Hitomi Kosuga, the president of the Japan End Tab Association, offered guidance on practical skills including manual metal arc welding. In collaboration with experts dispatched from the Nippon Skilled Volunteers Association (NISVA), the project also provided the study of theory to students as well as information on teaching and experiment workshop methods to teaching staff in Mongolia.
Looking forward to seeing Mongolians handling development of their own country
The Japanese Kosen-style education program attracted large attention across Mongolia, with local newspapers and national televisions providing coverage. The term "Kosen" has started to become established in the country. At a welding skills competition held in Saitama Prefecture in February this year, Mongolian students from the model Kosen class entered into the Open section and managed to finish within the Top 10, showing off a quick outcome of the project.
Following the amendment of local laws for facilitating Kosen education and the acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the Kosen system through this project, the IET has decided to establish a new Kosen-style school and seeks applications for three classes to commence in September 2014. The Mongolian Minister of Education and Science also announced the launch of two Kosen-style schools in addition to the one planned by the IET. Following confirmation of the project's continuity, the SPF has decided to renew the project in full scale for three years starting FY2014.
On the back of rich underground resources, Mongolia is expected to make further growth in coming years. The country will have unlimited positions for human resources that will undergo the Japanese Kosen-style education. SPF's project staff who have maintained steady exchange with the country for many years, cannot wait to see Mongolia and its people solidly establish the Kosen system so that its graduates start handling their own country's development projects by themselves.