ADB's Japan Funds: Japan Scholarship Program

Evaluation Document | 31 August 2007

This evaluation discusses issues and challenges related to the Japan Scholarship Program.

ADB and the Government of Japan agreed to establish the JSP in 1988 to encourage human resources development in ADB's developing member countries.

The JSP aims to provide qualified citizens with opportunities for further studies at selected academic institutions known for their programs in economics, business and management, science and technology, or any other development-related field.

Upon completion of their studies, the scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, thereby assisting in the socioeconomic development of their countries.

This evaluation was undertaken by the Operations Evaluation Department of ADB at the request of, and with funding from, the Government of Japan. The JSP is one of three Japanese grant funds administered by ADB through its Office of Cofinancing Operations.

This evaluation discusses issues and challenges related to the JSP, including candidate selection, scholarship amount, contribution to capacity building of scholars, contribution to socioeconomic development, support to ADB priority areas, contribution to strengthening partnerships between Japan and developing countries in the Asia and Pacific region, and fund management and administrative issues.

Overall, the JSP was rated as successful. It was judged as highly relevant, efficient, effective, and likely sustainable.

Summary of findings

  • Overall, the program is successful. Of the 2,104 scholarships awarded since its inception until 2006, dropout rates have been low (4%), and 83% of candidates have completed their chosen fields of study.
  • The JSP is rated highly relevant. It focuses on human resources development, which ADB and the countries in the region consider a high priority. The fields of study it currently supports are relevant and consistent with ADB priorities.
  • The JSP is rated effective. The nature of employment and the increased scope of responsibilities of returning scholars indicate that contributions to the socioeconomic development of the scholars' countries appear positive. The acquisition of the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare them for challenging careers enhanced the development of the scholars.
  • The JSP has been efficient. JSP funds have been managed effectively and efficiently notwithstanding the complexity of the application process among different courses in the 20 designated institutions. This factor and its socioeconomic contributions are indicators that the sustainability of the program is likely.
  • A few designated institutions could have managed their scholarships more efficiently with advance payments and promotions if they had a better understanding of the JSP implementing guidelines. The program supports scholarships in 20 designated institutions, a number that appears manageable and appropriate.


While the JSP has been rated successful, its implementation could be improved by revisiting the guidelines and procedures as follows:

  • Delegate more autonomy to designated institutions that are relatively experienced in candidate selection by reducing the number of candidates on the short list prepared by these institutions from the current minimum of twice the number of slots to 1.5.
  • Extend the current 2-year limitation of the assistance to 3 years on a case-by-case basis.
  • Raise the age limit for candidates in short programs (less than 2 years), which are also appropriate for senior officials and managers, to 45 from 35 years.
  • Establish annual/regular payment schedules from ADB to designated institutions to facilitate better financial management in these institutions.
  • Add a provision in the implementing guidelines that will require scholarship recipients to work for the government of their home countries or work in a company based in their home countries for a specified duration.
  • Upload the JSP implementing guidelines to the JSP website to allow JSP coordinators in the designated institutions to access and refer to them easily.
  • Carefully consider the timing and choice of placing advertisements in local newspapers and other modalities of disseminating information for JSP applications, taking into account the preparation period and the different application deadlines of the designated institutions.
  • Encourage the alumni association to strengthen its networking function by establishing alumni chapters in all developing member countries, with websites linked but operated independently from the JSP website administered by ADB.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • The Japan Scholarship Program
  • Findings of the Evaluation
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendixes