IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP)
Review Report of the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia
The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia (JISPA), funded by the Government of Japan and administered by the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, provides scholarships for junior government and central bank officials, who wish to study at a graduate-level macroeconomics or a related field at leading universities in Japan, with an aim to contributing to institutional capacity building in economic policymaking.
The review headed by Prof. Shinji Takagi, Osaka University of Japan, was conducted in November 2008 to June 2009 to assess whether the program has been successful in meeting its objectives. The key findings and recommendations made by the review committee are described below:
- The JISPA has achieved a considerable measure of success as it has trained over 360 officials from Asia and the Pacific region. The program has helped to significantly fill a critical gap in the professional knowledge and skills that exists between highly trained senior officials and their supporting staff by raising the level of macroeconomic knowledge of the latter. This is also supported by the responses to the questionnaires:
-All responding sponsoring agencies considered that the program has been meeting their capacity building needs, and they will continue to encourage their junior officials to apply for the JISPA.
-A great number of JISPA graduates have undertaken advanced positions with responsibility, including some graduates rising to significantly senior positions, and have regarded the education they had received as valuable to their work.
- The JISPA has been a very attractive program to potential applicants because of the combination of “Japan and the IMF” and it is being seen as a unique program by targeting only junior government officials of key economic agencies.
- The program has broadly achieved a balance of scholars from the target countries in terms of geographical distribution.
- The system of partnership track, i.e., consisting of a small number of partnership universities, has been effective because it enables quality control over the education provided; a more efficient and transparent selection process of the scholars; and the fostering of a group spirit among the JISPA scholars.
- Although the program should continue broadly as it is currently structured, the program should evolve to meet the changing needs of the target agencies by offering a more specialized training in macroeconomic formulation, central banking and monetary policy, and financial market expertise. Each partnership university should have its own area of focus to meet the diverse needs of sponsoring agencies and potential applicants.
- Open-track scholarships should continue to be offered, in particular, for PhD courses, given the needs of higher academic knowledge and specialized areas.
The full text of the JISPA review report is available.