Bhutan is preparing for a revolution in Information and Technology (IT) and Bhutanese IT firms are striving for the cause.
These were some of the scenarios brought at the fore in Bhutan Dialogues hosted by UN Bhutan and Loden Foundation this week.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Thimphu TechPark Ltd (TTPL)., Dr. Tshering Cigay Dorji who was guest speaker during the dialogue on 15 July, said Bhutan though advancing in IT field, it still is far behind.
“There is need to explore opportunities for the next big innovation and to help it boost the country’s economy,” he said.
He said if Bhutan is not preparing for a technology-driven future, our 21st century youth will not like home and they will migrate to advanced part of the globe. Hence, he pointed out that Bhutan must build infrastructure for Bhutanese youth so that they don’t leave the country.
The level of education from schools in Bhutan is a hindrance to becoming a programmer. He added that there is lack of clear vision where STEM subject are not prioritized with the need to build foundation to prepare for technical profession.
He cited that companies with larger pools, such have Scan café and iMerit Technology Service, requires lower skills while Celise a software company from Switzerland requires the former mentioned.
“The IQ level of Bhutan VS foreigners may not be different; it is just the system of education which requires different tunings “, he said.
A vibrant industry is required so as to encourage youths to establish IT companies. The foundation has already been laid to create an improved digitalized Bhutan which can capture the market outside. For instance, Nepal has very good IT companies which render to the market outside even to Bhutan. The potential for growth is unlimited for Bhutan as well.
Cyber security is a big setback in the digital world. To evade hacking, educating oneself on cyber-crimes is a necessity. He said that everything on the internet should not be believed as numerous people fall prey to cyber-crime resulting in losing money and sensitive information.
He said stringent IP policies should be followed and individual passwords should be well taken care of.
Bhutan currently has internet satellite linkage via Siliguri corridor. Dr Cigay shared that the government is exploring the possibility to get internet access from the Bangladesh government as an alternative source.
Thimphu Tech Park has 4- 5 actively operating foreign companies and a total of approximately 500-600 employees.
The CEO said, “TTPL initially started with the mandate on creating employment. Today, it has the additional mandate to become the seat of IT excellence and its focus is to export IT services to foreign countries.”
TTPL has huge projects for taxation and health coming up to help private firms to innovate ideas and explore new opportunities.
The Resident Coordinator of UN Bhutan, Gerald Daly, said most of the events are conducted through virtual platforms and there are different applications coming up.
However, he said, some youth are disconnected according to the Resident Coordinator, and it is important to move with IT and prepare for future IT revolution in the country.
The Bhutan Dialogue is hosted every month to discuss potential ideas and issues in development.