Radar Screen

Back to Contents of Issue: April 2002

BJIT, www.bjitdhaka.com
Japan's unemployment rate may be rising, but overworked IT engineers here are barely getting a full night's sleep. Despite the slump in the job market, Japan still desperately needs more IT professionals. Kazuo Kanayama, president of development company Labros says, "Those with Java-related knowledge are particularly scarce." Give this discrepancy between demand and supply, where does Kanayama find the specialists he needs? Bangladesh -- in fact, he trains them in their homeland.

Bangladesh Japan Information Technology (BJIT) started a one-year training course for IT specialists in Dhaka City last November. The program offers courses on Java, networks, securities, databases and other high-end IT topics. It also offers Japanese language courses to prepare students for the Japanese market. BJIT also has a development center, which develops software for Japanese companies. "We had 2,000 applicants for 40 openings -- we clearly have gifted people there," he says. The school already offers one-year professional qualifications, but Kanayama, who is the BJIT chairman, hopes to see it achieve university status in the near future.

BJIT is the first educational institution in Bangladesh to receive funding from a Japanese firm. Kanayama, with his long-term involvement in Japan's IT industry, already had experience working with engineers from Bangladesh and had gradually developed a personal network there. The Japanese government, which has recently recognized the need for more IT professionals, is also behind this project. When it comes to visa issuance, "the Foreign Ministry doesn't have a good reputation," he says, "but I've found it surprisingly cooperative on this project." Thanks to recent visa deregulation for IT engineers, Kanayama hopes some of them will end up in Japan. "Bangladeshi engineers are enthusiastic and already, major IT firms (in Japan) are showing some interest."

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