At a glance

The “Learn and Earn” Program
The Current Situation

At a glance

  • The program was begun in April 2017
  • 703 students have gone to Japan through the BEO thus far
  • They are studying in 24 Japanese language institutes in Japan
  • Of the total, 356 are female and 347 are male
  1. 399 have bachelor’s degree qualification
  2. 249 have high school qualification
  • 55 have diploma qualification
  • The ages for almost all are between 18 and 29 years
  • About 30 have returned to Bhutan so far
  • 6 have received working visa so far
  • The students study Japanese language for four to six months prior to departure
  • Until October 2017, the Japanese language fee in Bhutan for about 500 students was paid for by the government
  • The government provided collateral-free loan to about 500 students. In addition, His Majesty the King, on his personal initiative, granted loan to about 200 Japan-bound students. Of these, the majority have already left with 18 slated to leave in October 2018 in addition to six who are privately-funded.

The beginning

The “Learn and Earn” program has been studied and assessed by no other than the Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR), and his delegation who visited Japan in March 2017. The delegation met with the relevant stakeholders across Japan and returned satisfied that there is good scope for Bhutanese youth;

The MoLHR officials visited Japan twice more thereafter where they met the students and assessed their situation.

 The students are well-informed

In order to ensure that no youth makes a hasty, ill-informed decision to go to Japan, BEO strictly follows the following process:

  1. The interested candidate compulsorily attends a two-hour briefing where every aspect of the program is spelled out.
  2. Next, the interested candidate is urged to bring along a parent or guardian who will attend the same two-hour briefing and help the candidate to make the right decision.
  • Thirdly, the candidate and parent/guardian are given adequate time to decide to participate in the program or not. After that only they sign a contractual agreement with BEO.
  1. During the briefing, an utmost care is being taken to ensure that no undue far-fetched promises are made that would tempt the youth. On the contrary, the hopes and expectations are deliberately kept low while the difficulties and challenges of living and working in Japan are highlighted. Among others, they are being told that:
  1. They have to juggle between study and part-time job.
  2. The work mostly will be at night as night work pays higher
  3. They have to travel between two to three hours to and from work.
  4. The work will entail standing for hours on end
  5. They have to take up any work that is available
  6. Without Japanese language skills, work choices will be limited
  7. Work 28 hours a week (or more) during study period and 40 hours during vacations, as allowed under Japanese law.
  8. They must work hard to sustain themselves and repay loan, tuition fees, rental and personal expenditure from their earning
  9. That without personal discipline they will fail
  10. They must not live an extravagant life

Additionally, there is a debriefing by and signing of undertaking with the MoLHR prior to departure.

Timing of their return to Bhutan

 The students will complete three phases in Japan:

  1. First, they will study Japanese language for up to 2 years and obtain at least N2 level of proficiency
  2. Secondly, they will enroll themselves into vocational or degree colleges with funding support from their parents/families if required. Some may opt for working visa at this phase
  • During the third and final phase, most will apply for working visa while some may opt to return home.