Royal Thimphu College (RTC) joins Druk Research & Education Network on the New Year’s Eve. DrukREN team along with assistance from Bhutan Telecom Ltd. worked closely with RTC ICT Team to migrate their network to DrukREN.

DrukREN caught up with Dr. Samir Patel, Dean – Development and External Relations, and Associate Dean -Academic Affairs of Royal Thimphu College  for a chat about RTC joining DrukREN.

DrukREN: Tell us about Royal Thimphu College.

Dr. Patel: Royal Thimphu College was the first private college in Bhutan, open since 2009, and is now in its 10th year of operation. The College’s purpose has always been to ‘inspire education in Bhutan’. RTC offers the widest range of academic subject areas of study within a single campus in Bhutan, from Business to Arts to Sciences, now including Nursing as well, and is affiliated to both the Royal University of Bhutan and the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan. It remains the first and only A+ (excellent) accredited institution in the country.

DrukREN: How is RTC benefiting from ICT in Education?

Dr. Patel: The College has always placed top emphasis on ICT as a set of valuable tools to support education. It maintains extensive computer labs, mounted projectors and presentation stations in every classroom, a host of in-house built and maintained online information systems, and an extensive campus network with a fiber backbone connecting staff and computer lab desktops as well as over 80 wifi access points.

High-quality connectivity is extremely important for the campus users to be able to access the internet as well as for the large volume of day scholars and evening continuing education students to access the RTC servers. All staff and student users are connected to RTC’s G Suite and have Gmail accounts and access to google apps that they are expected to use. RTC servers also host our own Network File Share and a Virtual Learning Environment as well as a student portal that provide a range of online services to all on-campus and off-campus users 24/7. Users increasingly rely on connected sources of knowledge and real-time information for their educational purposes, both teachers and learners. As the college grew, while the number of users since 2009 went up by 4-fold, the network load went up more than 10-fold.

DrukREN: How can RTC benefit from joining DrukREN?

Dr. Patel: The College has strived to maintain one of the best bandwidth ratios in the country with respect to student number. With DrukREN, the overall bandwidth that is being subscribed within the same budget will increase dramatically, and the academicians will be able to use connected sources even more reliably. This will undoubtedly lead to more up-to-date teaching-learning, with newer learning materials, and more variety of them (including, for example, e-books, videos, research tools and sources), being readily accessible to the 1250 student and 180 staff users. The College also looks forward particularly to the strong connection between domestic institutions within Bhutan, and opportunities to share teaching-learning and research materials as well as to converse live, all at up to gigabit speeds, with fellow institutions.

DrukREN welcomes RTC to Bhutan’s National Research & Education Network community. DrukREN has connected 21 Research & Education Institutes in 2018.