First Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Bhutan from next year

The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) will offer bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering (ME) from July next year at the Jigme Namgyal Engineering College (JNEC) in Dewathang, Samdrup Jongkhar.

As of now mechanical engineering is offered only at a diploma level. The first mechanical engineering diploma course was started in 1988 at the erstwhile Royal Bhutan Polytechnic, now JNEC, in keeping with the demands of the job market. Intake for the diploma has expanded over the decades.

“Although the intake in diploma has increased there is need for mechanical engineers with degree because of the industrialization and spread out of hydropower in a country and the ministry of economic affairs coming up with special economic zones,” JNEC director Dr Andu Dukpa said. “The demand for mechanical engineers will increase over the years and if we have students studying in the country, they will understand the country’s perspective and environment clearly.”

The research and survey on the need for a degree course in mechanical engineering was done earlier this year and suggestions and recommendations were gathered from all major stakeholders in a country. The approval for introducing the course has also been accorded by the Academic Planning and Resources Committee (APRC) under RUB.

Acquiring well qualified and experienced faculty members and setting up infrastructure facilities like workshops and laboratories is being pursued. “We have an advantage at this point of time because we have been offering diploma in M.E since 1988 so we have most of the facilities with us which can be shared,” Andu Dukpa said, adding that the establishment of ME would otherwise be cost intensive and procurement of additional facilities will be made through the internal budget of the college and government support.

To prepare the skilled manpower the college has sent two faculty members to Japan to get hands on skills and to learn machine design for six months. “The faculty members will have the added knowledge which will help us in delivery of quality education,” he said adding that there are few faculties with Masters and trained to teach at the diploma level.

The college is currently working with the Kansai University in Okayama in Japan in program development and also trying to work with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Guwahati, India, and Bialystok University of Technology in Poland.

The college will have a professor for the mechanical department from Kansai University to support and teach in the department. “We need diverse expert opinion on whatever we design to begin with,” said Dr Andu Dukpa. Professor Junichi Kurata of Kansai University donated a 3D printer to JNEC to learn efficiency and accuracy in designing.

Another two ME lecturers will be sent to Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland this September under the Erasmus+ project.

The college is planning to enroll about 30 students for the degree in ME and the offer will also be extended to in-service candidates with diploma in ME. The contents will be aligned with core education in mathematics, physical science along with broad sequence of courses of thermal process and fluid mechanics, mechanical design, material science, power plant engineering, solid mechanics and maintenance engineering.

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