ICT: To provide better opportunity to use information communications technology (ICT) for the general public in the country, the Bhutan-Korea Information Access Centre (IAC) at Royal Institute of Management (RIM) was inaugurated yesterday.

The centre consists of a multi-functional facility, which includes an ICT training laboratory, internet lounge, videoconferencing room and an  administrative office.

The IAC facility was set up through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the information and communications ministry, the National Information Agency (NIA), Republic of Korea, and RIM, signed in June, early this year.

According to a press release from RIM, the IAC will serve as a hub for ICT training, developing business proposals and networking for business, education and research.

Built at a total cost of USD 300,000, the centre consists of 55 computers equipped with internet access, printers, furniture and other IT equipment that are fully funded by the NIT. However, the internet connection and the infrastructure are provided by RIM.

IAC’s manager, Kuenga Yangki said that while the centre will be available for the general public to use, people using the services will be liable to pay a minimal charge for the services. “The charges will be comparatively less than the commercial charges,” she said.

“Final charges will be drafted and finalised within two weeks.”

Kuenga Yangki added that while the equipment and settings of the centre were fully supported by the NIA, in order to sustain the centre, minimal charges will be collected from the users. “RIM has to provide with the internet access for which individuals need to pay,” she said.

RIM’s director general, Karma Tshering said that in order to make the best use of the facilities, the institute had also planned a series of activities throughout next year.

Trainings on graphic designing and animation, network management and troubleshooting, e-governance training and training of trainers, hardware maintenance, web designing and seminars on digital presentations, among others, are also in the pipeline.

“While the state of the art technology and physical structures are in place, it is important that we make the best use of the facilities and derive the maximum out of it,” the director general said.

Karma Tshering added that the centre will help youth and students to enhance their learning education through the use of ICT. He also said the centre will help young entrepreneurs in development of their business plans and ideas for employment.

The director general added that support from NIA will continue in the future as well. He said that NIA will provide facility renewal to keep the IAC updated after every four years of operating the centre.

Present at the inauguration, NIA’s President, Byung-jo Suh said that IAC is one of the greatest achievements of cooperation in ICT between Bhutan and Korea. “I believe that the opening of this centre will solidify the 28 long year of friendship between the two countries,” he said. “We’ll continue to make effort for further cooperation in sharing our experiences with Bhutan through various programmes.”

As of today, there are 44 information access centres established in 42 countries by NIA to help improve the IT environment as well as cooperation in the ICT field around the world.

The information and communication minister, DN Dhungyel formally inaugurated the centre.

By Younten Tshedup