A group consisting of 39 students and 3 teachers from the Norin Dai Gaku School at Shizuoka in Japan, payed us a four-day-visit recently. This Japanese school and Wellantcollege have had a relationship for many years.
The International Office of Wellantcollege took care of the programme, with focus on sustainability, maintenance of the countryside, water management and different aspects of agriculture and horticulture.
Developments in Japan
The Japanese agribusiness in general consists of smaller and less advanced companies. Reformation of the green industry lies at the heart of the Japanese strategy of growth. Especially since the tsunami in 2011, Japan decides more and more in favour of smart agriculture and indoor farming. Core principles are power consumption, quality of products, food safety and labour efficiency. So Japanese schools are very interested in the Dutch way of producing food.
The Japanese students took a field trip to a number of modern Dutch companies such as a dairy farm, a cheese factory, cultivation of larger and smaller fruits and the cultivation of pot plants. Moreover they gained a more comprehensive picture of the green educational field in Holland. The Wellant Aalsmeer vocational team has contributed to this in a tremendous way by organising an interesting all-day programme. The Japanese students appreciated this very much and have indicated they would like to visit again next year.
Trips back and forth
Wellantcollege wants to supplement its strategy of excellence by developing a demonstrable extended and aggravated educational programme. That could be done, for instance, in the form of a challenging internship outside of the European Union. Wellant is exploring opportunities in Japan.
Japan offers, in many different ways, a unique added value compared to other countries. Students are able to acquire new skills, knowledge and competences because of three important concepts:
- Total Quality Management (TQM): is characteristic for the Japanese quality of producing and ‘kaizen’, the ongoing enhancement of productivity, which is also visible in the agricultural sector.
- The Service Economy, linked to being ‘being of service’. This is also a characteristic of the Japanese culture. The term ‘service’ also brings some complicated, paradoxical cultural aspects with it. For example: in the upper class restaurants and hotels there are no menus and pricelists: according to our cultural point of view this indicates a lack of service.
- Thinking and behaving in a competitive way. The more masculine culture in Japan is a much more competitive one. The Dutch feminine approach is less competitive. While doing business, a more competitive attitude can be very stimulating.
With all the skills our students are able to learn in Japan, they can strengthen the ‘green’ sector in the Netherlands.