Colleges call for more Japanese volunteers

THE ministry of Higher and Tertiary Institution, Innovation Science and Technology says it is working with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to increase the number of Japanese teaching and sporting volunteer experts following a surge in applications by local colleges.

Since 1988, Jica Zimbabwe has been running the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) programme, which has seen the deployment of over 500 Japanese citizens in various fields in the country.

The Japanese volunteers have been deployed to different institutions that include Bulawayo Polytechnic, Hillside Teachers College, Mutare Teachers College, Mutare Polytechnic, Kushinga Phikilela Polytechnic, Bindura University of Science Education, Midlands State University, Harare Teachers College and Morgan Zintech Teachers College.

In an interview after touring Japanese volunteers’ work stations in the country last week, ministry of Higher and Tertiary Institution, Innovation Science and Technology Human Capital Development officer Arnold Makonese told the Daily News that there was a stockpile of applications for more volunteers in the country.

“We are working with Jica to increase volunteers back to pre-Covid 19 figures. For now, we have nine volunteers in the country, but we are currently clearing another person to come into the country. So, we can say we have 10 volunteers. We have a number of requests that we are processing. Numerous requests are coming in for ICT personnel and we have already contacted Jica for that.”

Makonese said the JOCV programme has made a big difference in Zimbabwe’s perception of practical subjects such as Physical Education (PE), Art and Music, which can bring people together regardless of religious affiliation and language. Speaking at the same event, Jica Resident Representative Shigeki Furuta said through these cooperation activities, participating volunteers contribute to the development of partner countries. “The volunteers are not paid by host institutions.

So, there is no financial burden to the local institutions. The host institutions benefit from the skills transfer and the valuable experience in terms of international goodwill. “In return, these volunteer programme also gives the Japanese people an invaluable global experience to the Japanese citizens who participate in it.”

Nine of the JOCV are working at the ICT department of Madziwa Teachers College, Judo Association of Zimbabwe, Physical Education and ICT at Morgan Zintec College, Kushinga Phikelela, Manicaland Baseball Association, Physical Education and ICT Mkoba Teachers College, Tourism and Hospitality Bulawayo Polytechnic and Bulawayo Baseball Association.

JICA is working closely with its counterparts, mainly partner government departments and agencies in Zimbabwe, by making the best use of various types of support, namely, Grand Aid, Technical Cooperation Projects, and Knowledge Co-creation Programmes.

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