Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006
Column II-4 Third Countries Training Program (TCTP) at the Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology (PJIIT)1
From 1989 to the early 1990s the socialist systems of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries collapsed one after another. Since then, Japan has been providing various kinds of support to former socialist countries during the course of their process to adapt to the market economy system. One example is the support to the information technology sector. The strict control over Information Technology under the socialist systems had prevented successful development of it.
Poland needed to train practical computer engineers as an indispensable workforce in its shift to the market economy. At the request of the Government of Poland, Japan established the Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology (PJIIT) in 1994. As part of its technical cooperation, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dispatched a total of 54 experts from Japanese universities and other institutions, and provided information system equipment worth about ¥500 million during the five years from 1996. Through these initiatives the PJIIT grew rapidly, with a drastic increase in the number of teachers and students (from 90 students at the start to about 1,800 currently). Also, the institute's curriculums were expanded with the establishment of the master's degree program in 1998 and the doctoral degree program in 2002. It is ranked top class among Poland's information technology universities, showing solid results achieved through technical cooperation. While the unemployment rate in Poland stays at a level slightly exceeding 15%, 100% of the PJIIT graduates are employed, commanding high reputations in the country.
The Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology, located in Warsaw. Its building bears a Japanese sign of its name.
In order to disseminate these achievements to neighboring countries, the PJIIT has held an Eastern Europe Seminar on IT from FY1999 to FY2003 as training opportunities for students from third countries. The PJIIT has also been promoting the Central and Eastern Europe Seminar on IT as a three-year plan since FY2004. This seminar covers themes such as multimedia, databases, information engineering, and robot control. It has so far been participated by about 140 people from 13 countries. The participants, a majority of whom are university teachers, highly evaluate the training programs in surveys held after each round of the seminar. Moreover, the PJIIT serves as a major promoter of the Transfer of IT Technology to Ukraine,2 a project organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In this project resources developed by the PJIIT such as systems, curriculums, and teaching materials are used at the distance learning centers set up in Ukrainian polytechnic universities.
A scene of an Eastern Europe Seminar on IT, a training opportunity for students from third countries
PJIIT contributed greatly to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Poland, through training experts in Poland and neighboring countries, such as those explained above, and introduction of Japanese culture. In recognition of these achievements, the PJIIT received the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation from the Government of Japan on the occasion of the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the PJIIT's establishment in October 2004. Currently, Poland has "graduated" from the status of an aid recipient country and is beginning to support other countries through ODA from 2006. Through this ODA from Poland to other countries, we hope that the PJIIT will utilize its experience of receiving assistance from Japan to widen its future role in the computer science sector.
[This article written by Mr. Mitsuhiko Toho, head of Department of Japanese Language and Culture the PJIIT]