Meanwhile, 17 cherry blossom saplings will be planted on the RUB campus tomorrow

MoU: Japan’s Kansai University and the Royal University of Bhutan will soon sign a basic  agreement document, followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration in various academic areas.

The areas of collaboration between the two universities were discussed in a meeting  yesterday in Thimphu.

Director of Jigme Namgyel polytechnic (JNP) in Deothang, (Dr) Andu Dukpa, said  that, although technical institutes in the country offered various courses, lack of  professionals to teach the subject remained a challenge.

JNP began offering diploma course in survey and, given the demand for power engineers at various hydropower projects in the country, it would start offering a power–engineering course.

“It’s difficult for us to find people to teach these subjects,” he said. “In our collaboration, we could look at possibilities of experts coming to our institutes as part of faculty or staff exchange programme.”

Another area of collaboration, he shared, was sending undergraduate lecturers from various colleges under RUB to Kansai University for master’s or PhD programmes, who, on their return, could teach. This, he said, would help transfer technology.

RUB’s director general for academic affairs, Yangka, said the idea behind this collaboration was to seek Japan’s help in human resource development. It was to build capacity of Bhutanese research, which was new in the country and faced with challenges.

“To begin, we’ll start with exchange programme or visiting lecturer programme with one of the RUB colleges,” he said.

While visiting lecturer or student exchange programmes would have huge cost implications, Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) chief representative, Yumiko Asakuma, suggested that Kasai University approach JICA domestic office in Japan for funding assistance.

Associate professor of Kansai University, Junichi Kurata, said that, after completing the basic agreement of collaboration, the two universities needed to set conditions for research and student exchange programmes.

Although he did not commit anything yet, he said he would discuss with the vice-president of the university.

RUB’s planning and resource director, (Dr) Samdrup Rigyal, said, one of the challenges the university was currently facing was expanding infrastructure in various colleges.

With increasing number of students and programmes, there was a need for infrastructure to expand. For which, proper planning was required for future development. “We aren’t in a capacity to design master plans for each of our colleges,” he said.

Meanwhile, RUB officials and delegates from Japan will plant about 17 cherry blossom saplings at the RUB campus tomorrow morning. Japan gifted a total of 50 saplings last August, when the first international conference on engineering, science, technology, education and history was held.

The remaining saplings will be planted in the campus of colleges, depending on suitability of weather.

According to a pamphlet from Shinjuku imperial garden of Japan, the cherry trees originated in Bhutan and Nepal. When they reached Japan, they were differentiated into various breeds for the four seasons.

With the plantation today, the cherry trees return home.

By Nirmala Pokhrel