Inspiring Bhutan

I went on a field trip today. I went to see the Royal Thimphu College in Ngabiphu. The college is spread elegantly over 25 acres of gently sloping blue pine forest about 10 km due south of the capital. (See RTC website)

The construction of the college, which began only in October 2007, is already nearing completion. And by July this year, Bhutan’s first private college will have admitted its first students.

These students will be fortunate. Dormitories, classrooms, auditorium, sports facilities, gymnasium, dining hall, cafeteria, club house … the facilities they’ll enjoy are equal to those of the best colleges in our region.

These world class facilities were planned, designed and built by our own people. Gandhara Designs developed the master plan, zoning and all designs and drawings. And Phuensum Builders are the civil works contractors. Together, these two firms have shown that our construction industry, especially our architects, have come of age.

Only a few government officials have visited the college so far. Many more should visit. They’ll see that it is possible to improve the quality of construction in our country. And they’ll see that it is possible to develop education as a viable industry in our country.

But to improve the quality of construction or of private education the government must play a more meaningful role. It must provide vision. And genuine support to realize that vision.

The RTC’s motto is “Inspiring Education in Bhutan.” I am inspired.


Facebook Comments:


  1. I followed the link to RTC website and discovered the pictures of the college.
    However, I was under the impression that the windows of the buildings should be in the traditional shape and was surprised to find the box like western windows. If I am not mistaken, I read it on the MOWHS website that specific architectural elements are to be followed. Does this mean that the rules have been flexed? If so, this is good news. The box like windows are cheaper (in my own perception) than the labor intensive decorative traditional windows.
    Do you know what is the exact rule on this? Just curious as a future would be home owner.

  2. Lobxang……..look at the bigger picture. It does not matter what shape is your window or what colour is your building…

    Ofcourse its good to incorporate traditional architectural features within the mandate of the government regulation but you are missing the point….even if they have broken a rule( which I am not sure if they have), I simply don’t care and you shouldn’t either…. Infact Governmnet should extend all possible assistance ( including financial)….

    See how beautiful it is… here again, I am not talking about the design or the landscape( which is beautiful ofcourse), but the innitiative!!

    The education they are going to provide, the employment they are going to generate.. ofcourse its not a charitable institute but they could have build a beautiful 5 star resort…

    anyways, I hope to see it florish and entend my best wishes to everyone involved in this project.

  3. BTW Lobxang………I also think we are spending too much money in our windows and doors already!!!!

  4. Pasang Trinley says

    This is a really good initiative and good for our children. I am already looking forward for the admission of one of my son. As pointed out, it is also a good lesson for the government to learn that if done properly a project of these scale can be completed in short period of time not like the story we are hearing about the Ministers Enclave.

    On the design part, however, I am not impressed. I have not seen many pictures except one of the academic block. It looks so dull and there is no architecture creativity. It could be because the architecture firm may have done the job for a subsidized fee and that they have not really cared so much. Otherwise, I would expect a better looking structures in that area especially.

    Anyway, I join others to appreciate the initiative of the HM Ashi Kezang for such great job for the welfare of Bhutanese society and particularly the youths.

  5. Reply to the Anon.

    Please read my lines once again and you will understand that we are on the same page. I am not against the idea of using creative windows or paints.

    What I am concerned is the consistency of the rules.

  6. I am in agreement with everyone here. With Lobxang for pointing out the absence of architectural designs on the buildings. Why not incorporate our own required designs when 1000’s of miles away someone is trying hard to incorporate our own design (University of Texas in Elpaso). However, the initiative is noble – I commend the owners for this daring feat and will ofc ourse benefit the Bhutanese citizens.

    Kudo’s to the owners.

  7. Its great to see our first Private college coming Up
    But my worry is that the tution fees which is estimated around
    NU. 125000 per year is very high
    I dont knw how many people can effort and make their child go to college rather they could send their children to India where the fee would not even be the half
    But I m sure they would have a good team of faculty and facilities..

    One more thing is that I thought the term “ROyal” was not allowed, their were some restrictions as to that…
    if u could clarify my doubt sir

    • I know the amount Nu. 1,25,000 sounds very expensive. Indian universities might seems cheaper but if one calculates the Overall expenses in India, it totals up to much than Nu.1,25,000. Besides i think RTC is much secure and the the infrastructure is very nice… Dont trust me, go check it out when you have free time…

      Overall i think RTC is a good initiative and a very nice example of how a college should be.


  8. Good doubt raised. Is the ROYAL name allowed to be used for private entity. We could come up with Royal Bar, royal restaurant, royal grocery, Royal tourism (quite attractive actually). Yeah – pls clarify.

  9. I have an option for the big tution fee. weared but it is possible if we all think and act together.,.. the owner has already put the structure and resources now i feel it is our turn. one person cannot do it but if we team up why not…. for every student let the gov spend 25% as subsidy and 25% from the contribution from the income of all the civil servent who has gone out of the country on scholarship and than the 50% by the parents and students them self..
    Now all of us will be worried about our part.. i mean those who have got the scholarship to complete our study. but i feel and is willing to contribute as i have also received the scholarship from other country or the government, and if some one like OL start this type of iniciative than i am willing to work with it.. it can be done. WHat do u all think.. wil it work,,,,,, ru we willing… food for thought.. if we are together we can.. let uset try fro few good derserving ones..

  10. The cal is follows..
    125000 X 25% X 300 std = 9,375,000
    now divide by 12 month =781,250
    divide that by 1000 civil servent
    === 782.25 per month..

    so if we want we can. let us do it OL.. start if and this will be a very good work..

    My assumption is that there are only 1000 civil srevent who got scholarship so far..
    may be more ..if we start than we can.. make a different to 300 student per year by our 781 NU.. per month.. what is that it is just two days TADA>>> only guys .. think and let us start……… for good.. And that is GNH..Going by Numbers we can make a House..

    if we common people do it than government will do also.share and work every thing can be done.. we can creat a History and give that as our gift to our people as we have got our share.. right..

    good luck and happy losar…

  11. dechen choden says

    “Royal Thimphu College is amazing”
    For those ppl complaining about the name ‘royal’ why can they not use it??? i know its a rule, but everyone these days use the name royal even in some useless and cheap bars around town are even called royal bar! if i’m not mistaken there is even a city-coperation called royal! Plus for those ppl who do not know the owners of this college, it is H.R.H Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck and Dasho tenzi Yonten, and as they are royal i’m sure they have ever right to use the name royal!
    Tashi Delek Dasho and Ashi!

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