Internship at Ministry of Education in Timor-Leste (Takao OKAMOTO)

I had the opportunity to conduct my internship in the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Timor-Leste from August of 24th to September of 28th 2015. I was initially attached to the Department of Science and Technical Education.During the internship, I had three main activities related to theme of my academic research; “The relationship between Labor Market and Higher Education in Timor-Leste”.

For the first activity, I worked at higher education division and conducted that of reviewing Timor-Leste’s Basic Education Law and National Strategic Plan for Education 2011-2030 prepared by MoE. These papers helped me understand the intent and outline of higher education system.

Okamoto at East TimorFor the second activity, I used questionnaires to interview with teachers and university students at National University of Timor-Leste. The questionnaire was structured two ideas; “Desire for employment and wage among university students” and “Preparation and skills for employment among university students”.

For the third activity, I worked at the Secretariat of State for Professional Training and Employment Policy (SEFOPE) and was conducted that of collecting data set on Labour Force Survey 2010, as well as observing the ongoing interview research. I received very valuable advice regarding important things to be considered in conducting interview research in Timor-Leste from officers in SEFOPE.

In addition, I was able to get opinions about my research topic and outline of education development from a leading expert working in Education Management Information System (EMIS) of MoE and in UNICEF in Timor-Leste. It will be also a precious experience for me to think about my future career.

I was able to achieve a lot of success in terms of collecting data and learning a lot through exchange of opinions with officers of MoE and other specialists in Timor-Leste’s education. One of the key challenges that I encountered relates to language of communication. All the public officers in Timor-Leste and people use Tetun, Indonesian and Portugese, so it was difficult to communicate with officers and people in English. Also most of the educational data is in Tetun or Portuguese language, so I needed native translator. I will endeavor to improve on my language skills by the next internship.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my academic adviser, Professor Keiichi Ogawa, who gave me this precious internship opportunity. Also, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Guterres Aquires, the National Cordinator in the Science and Technical Education Department of MoE, Ms. Delicia Chang, Ministry of Education and all MoE officers and friends who helped me in one way or the other during my stay in Timor-Leste.