Bhutan’s tech march

In 2018 Bhutan launched its first satellite into space. The satellite program did not happen overnight but was the culmination of at least two years of preparation in training the four Bhutanese space engineers, building and launching the CubeSat and building a ground station as part of a project envisioned by His Majesty.

The project is not an isolated one but is one of the strong steps that Bhutan is taking towards the field of science and technology over a period of time.

Earlier this year, His Majesty visited the start up center in Changzamtog, Thimphu where young Bhutanese entrepreneurs are coming up with any array of ideas and products.

From a time when Bhutan joined the age of the internet and TV in 1999 Bhutan is taking important and ambitious steps to join the fourth industrial revolution.

Nobody thought that Bhutan’s IT Park started in 2012 would work but it is now a success story which generates a lot of employment for the youth and also provides incubation centers for various tech based businesses.

Bhutan is now witnessing a flood of apps from hiring vehicles, to ordering food to picking up one’s trash.

In the financial sector a large number of financial transactions are done by ordinary people online using mobile phones while standing in line to pay utility bills is a thing of the past as payments are made online.

The government itself is wired and online with more than a 100 online services from getting permits to clearances and we are just warming up.

However, apart from the above, fundamental changes in Bhutan’s textbooks, education system and infrastructure have been afoot for a while to create a more tech savvy next generation.

The Royal Education Council is carrying out and working on major reforms in Bhutan’s text books.

The education system is now heading away from rote learning to encourage more critical thinking and analysis.

Making teachers the highest paid civil servants is just one of the steps in this regard.

Bhutan is planning a Nu 1 bn STEM school for the gifted.

There are more financial incentives and soft loans opening up for entrepreneurs who will form the backbone of the fourth industrial revolution.

The ambitions are almost audacious for a poor and small country but the efforts are on and the results are starting to show.

Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
Laurie Anderson

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