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.