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I felt like the snow was there to welcome us: Manju Kumari Jaisi (2023 MPP)

  • Date 2024-05-03 15:41
  • CategoryStory
  • Hit680

In an interview with KDIS News Center, Manju Kumari Jaisi, Chief District Treasury Comptroller at the District Treasury Comptroller Office in Rupandehi district of Nepal, reflects on her experiences, challenges, and personal growth during and after her master's studies at KDI School. Now, having returned to her homeland, she shares her journey, insights, memorable moments, and the lasting impact of her experience in KDIS and Korea.

Manju formerly served as Undersecretary of Nepal Government at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Nepal before coming to KDIS. Below are the edited excerpts from the interview with Manju.

Could you please briefly share with us your motivations behind pursuing a master’s degree at KDI School?

My journey to Korea started with a desire to acquire an international degree that’d equip me with globally applicable knowledge and also help me enhance my career opportunities. The opportunity presented itself when I came across the Colombo Plan Scholarship for the KDIS Spring Semester while working at CIAA. I applied and was successful. While the decision to pursue studies abroad was daunting, the support of my husband and children gave me the courage to embark on this academic journey.

What were your initial impressions upon arriving at KDIS or Korea?

When I landed at the airport in Korea, I felt as if the snow was there to welcome us. There had been a heavy snowfall the night before, so everything was covered in white. It was my first time seeing snow, a surreal experience! Adjusting to life at the dormitory was initially challenging due to cultural differences when it came to food or lifestyle but everyone, including our DA at the time and my roommate from Sri Lanka, was very helpful. With time, I got to know more people at the school and developed some real family-like bonds, which I think is also a beauty of KDIS. 

What were some of the most memorable moments or experiences during your time at KDI School?

Well there are many! But if I have to pick one, it’d be to say the KDIS International Food Festival was the highlight. I enjoyed it the most. It was exciting. Besides getting to taste different cuisines and dishes from around the world, I was able to share a little bit of our Nepalese culture through music and dance by having our international friends dance to our Nepalese tunes. 

Now that you've returned to your job in Nepal, how has the process of returning to your role as a government officer been? What differences or changes have you noticed in your approach to work or your understanding of governance, perhaps influenced by your time at KDI School?

Returning to my role in Nepal was relatively smooth, given my prior working experience of over a decade in the government sector.  However, my time at KDI School has influenced my approach to work significantly. I now delve deeper into issues and seek to understand their root causes. I've also become more conscious about checking sources and ensuring data integrity, thanks to the analytical skills I acquired at KDI School.

How do you perceive the exchange of knowledge and ideas between South Korea and Nepal, particularly in the fields of public administration and governance?

Korea is willing to support Nepal in public administration and governance, as evidenced by my positive experience at KDI School. Korea’s gesture towards developing countries, including Nepal, is appreciable - and I think the opportunity to go to Korea and learn from its development experiences and insights is a valuable experience.

I actively share insights gained from my time in Korea with colleagues back home, advocating for the adoption of best practices and innovative solutions. For instance, we have a software system in our workplace called Public Asset Management System (PANS) for which I suggested implementing a system that uses barcodes to instantly retrieve data. This is  similar to the one used at KDI School as a model for proper management of assets and its real-time valuation facilitating efficient service. 

Do you have any messages or advice that you’d like to share with the KDI School community, particularly with the faculty and current/future students?

My overall time at KDIS was enriching. I love the community, the learning environment as well as the courses provided. But I believe there’s always room for betterment. From my experience of taking several Public Administration courses, I felt the learning experience could be enhanced through the integration of practical exposure, such as government office or workplace visits, into the curriculum as well.  

Returning to her role in Nepal, Manju applied her enriched perspective to governance, emphasizing a deeper analytical approach. She advocates for adopting successful practices from South Korea, envisioning a stronger partnership between the two nations for mutual growth.


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LAMA, Lhakpa Dolma

2023 Fall / MDP / Nepal

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