March 16, 2016
The signing ceremony
On March 15, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a grant agreement (G/A) in Tokyo with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to provide grant aid of up to 2.231 billion yen for the Project for the Construction of New Buildings for the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Technology of the National University of Timor-Leste.
By constructing new buildings at the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL) for the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Technology and providing equipment, this project will improve the educational environment with the objective of building a foundation that stimulates the economy through the development of industrial human resources in Timor-Leste.
In its Strategic Development Plan released in 2011, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste announced “UNTL is a model for future collaboration between higher education institutions and the Government of Timor-Leste to improve human resources in areas critical to national development.” In response to this, the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Technology, as the only such academic department at a national university in Timor-Leste, created a new course in petroleum geology in 2012, transitioned from a three-year to a four-year institution in 2015 and is planning other functional improvements and expansions to produce industrial human resources with advanced technical skills aligned with the Strategic Development Plan. With fewer than 400 students in 2001, the university is planning to grow to approximately 1,400 students by 2021. The severely inadequate number of classrooms for students means that classes are held 40 percent over capacity, and laboratories and other rooms must be used as makeshift classrooms. The teaching materials are lacking both in quantity and quality, and the learning environment is expected to further worsen as the number of students increases.
After dispatching a Japanese expert in 2001, JICA has implemented technical cooperation projects over the decade beginning in 2006, and has established a record of providing various types of assistance, including administrative reinforcement and human resource development at the university so that the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Technology can function as a base for industrial human resource development in Timor-Leste. Going forward, JICA will organically utilize assistance in the form of financial cooperation for hard components and assistance in the form of technical cooperation for soft components to continue contributing to the development of advanced engineering human resources in Timor-Leste.