Human Resource Development Program for Youth
1996 Kisaburo OKAYASU
A Proposal submitted to ICA (ROAP) By Mr. Kisaburo Okayasu (Draft Paper)
The Experience from the International Activities of NFUCA between 1985 and 1995.
1.1. During the past decade we, NFUCA, had embarked on many International Activities. Having organized series of Orientation Seminars we were able to introduce to the rest of Asia Pacific, the activities of Japanese University Cooperatives. This has brought about a sense of participation and solidarity between university cooperatives of the region along with establishing a better relation with the citizen consumer cooperatives. The participating countries designed their Action Plans based on Japanese experience. At the same time we could identify the areas of exchange and collaboration with them.
1.2. During the orientation seminars we emphasized that University Cooperatives anywhere, cannot hope to succeed without participation by the students. In many countries in Asia Pacific, there is a restriction on student participation, due to varied reasons. We asserted that it is extremely important to make all the customers into members and the existing members should endeavor to make new members. Our faith is that there is no future for a movement which is not actively supported by the youth. Hence coops in universities and Colleges should be basically student driven entities.
1.3. It is a matter of satisfaction that our International Activities ultimately culminated in to the establishment of the Sub Committee on University /College Cooperatives for Asia and the Pacific under the ICA Committee on Consumer Cooperatives for Asia and the Pacific. In fact, even the school cooperatives are made the participants in this committee. None the less, the focal issue of this committee is the practical use of human resources of University / College Consumer Cooperatives.
2.1. The international activities were a great -learning experience for us through exchange of information and persons. It is now clear that the Consumer Cooperative Movement in many Asian countries is still in its initial stages and is facing several handicaps. As against this, Japan now has more matured University Cooperative System that caters to students, teachers and staff along together, the challenge of learning from one another and the spirit of team work.
2.2. We now realize the main and distinct features of Japanese consumers movement. It is a movement where most customers are members. The university consumer cooperatives provide equal right and participatory opportunities to teachers, staff and students. The university coops in Japan have a concern for university community. They are enterprise for study and education working for communication integration.
2.3. There is however, no case for complacency. If we remain satisfied, the relations between coops and community may get diluted. There is hence, a need in all the countries to step up the activities of university consumer coops.
2.4. It is in backdrop of this necessity that we have to appreciate the problems of consumer coops. We do recognize that competition and management are the problems with most consumer coops in most of the countries. However, they are not ' the problems'. The real problem seem to be the 'lack of concern for community' in which the coop members live. The need is thus evident to reconstruct the vision of consumer cooperative .
3.1. The issue now is - can our coops commit themselves to do better and meaningful things to the youth, especially the school children ? In fact, there are more coops at school level than in university in counties like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India. Most counties are interested to involve types of cooperative too. Hence such coops will be invited to the proposed seminar in Singapore , to be held during November 1996. Its also felt that there is better educational value in these coops since the students become members and even directors.
3.2. It is relevant to mention here that in the " Cooperative Youth Conference" held at Cebu, Philippines, in February 1996, many themes of interest were brought home. The themes hit the Asian countries well and look very practical. They include (a) Leadership Development for Youth by Youth, (b) Entrepreneurship Development for Youth, (c) Future Careers in Cooperatives, (d) Marketing orientation to Youth, (e) Cooperative Development and (f) Organizational Integration.
3.3. Issues like 'School Dropouts ' are very important problems of the community. The problems of dropouts is closely linked with the problems of poverty and income levels. There seems to be need to make these students a part of learn while you learn schemes. There are also possibilities of cooperative schools for such students. There issues need further exploration. The case of Italy of providing fund support to students too is worth considering.
3.4. The theme of Human Resource Development of Youth through cooperatives, thus becomes highly relevant in the above context. If cooperatives sought to achieve this, our movement could be very exiting for the 21st Century.
3.5. As a matter of fact, such schemes of HRD are relevant not only for other Asian countries but to Japan as well. In fact, problems such as 'Tormenting at Schools' and 'Dropping out at High School Level', are significant in Japanese society. If consumer cooperatives continue to stay away from addressing themselves to these issues, it may be impossible for them to truly contribute to the community. The more cooperatives show concern to these human questions, the more closer they would be to the community.
4.1. The seventh principles of ICA Statement on the Cooperative Identity viz., "Concern for Community" is the real challenge for the coops. The question is can we do something for the problems of youth which is integral to the community concerns? Is it not time that we address issues like education and poverty?
4.2. The need of the day in countries like Japan is to rethink about the now disappeared coop concepts like the 'settlement elements'.
4.3. The issue of contributing to the community calls for a NETWORK OF COOPERATIVES. As a part of this network the university cooperatives may attend to the problem of education. If it is true that "education helps ease the problem of poverty", the cooperatives will have to show concern towards this crucial issue. The emphasis therefore, is that there is a need for cooperation among cooperatives not only in the economic front but in the cultural front as well.
4.4. The belief of this proposal on HRD of Youth through cooperatives is that "participation in vital issues of Community makes consumer coops more acceptable to the people and enhances its social image."
5.1. Serving the community is our wish. It is a dream we want to realize. Every type of cooperative should join together in fostering the cause of younger generation.
5.2. ICA (ROAP) will hold at least one or two seminars by year 2000, on the theme Human Resource Development of Youth through Cooperatives.
5.3. Subsequently ICA (ROAP) may launch a time bound program for youth development and youth orientation in which coops in universities, colleges and schools be used as channels of community concern.