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Sherubtse: The rush starts in the morning
Sherubtse College (Kanglung, Trashigang)
The Sherubtse College is member of the national university system in Bhutan. The university system includes 10 member colleges:
College of Science and Technology
Gaeddu College of Business Studies
Samtse College of Education
Paro College of Education
Jigme Namgyel Polytechnic
College of Natural Resources
Sherubtse College
Institute of Language and Culture Studies
National Institute of Traditional Medicine
Royal Institute of Health Sciences

The 'rush' starts at 8:30 in the morning when the library opens till closing time at 10 pm. "I try and squeeze in at least half an hour of net-surfing everyday," says Singye Dorji an economics student. "I am downloading data on inflation which is not there in the text and reference books." Singye Dorji makes it a point to join the bursting queue of net enthusiasts at 1 pm everyday to register for internet use after classes in the evening. Besides shooting off emails and collecting information for project work and assignments, students also regularly indulge in on-line chatting and sometimes peeking into porn sites.

Tashi Tshomo, a commerce student, said the allocated daily two-hour browsing was worth the hustle and bustle for registration. Usually a student gets to use the net for six hours a week. Students have to book a day in advance to avail the facility.

The college embarked upon the electronic highway in 1999 with just one computer with a dial-up connection. Today, it has over 80 computers with internet facilities, excluding those used by the faculty and administration. In September 2001 the college began operating on a 64kbps lease line which was later upgraded to a wider bandwidth of 128kbps when Bhutan telecom set up its substation at Kanglung in May this year. Besides the computers in the library, there are 25 more computers in the college's computer centre and more in the laboratory, all connected to the internet.

The first lot of computers came in 1999 with the support of the Canadian cooperation office. A year later a Canadian man donated Canadian $10,000 for the computer laboratory. In the following years, the government funded Nu 2.5 million and Nu 4.5.million for the internet and computer laboratory. This year the government gave Nu 2.2 million for computer and software update.

Efforts are on to establish a wireless networking in the institute that would increase the network and enable students and teachers to use internet at home. Few students already own computers.

A Singapore volunteer upgraded the local area network (LAN) last year and the college is in the process of hiring a Japanese hardware engineer. "Last year the internet was very slow because of the low bandwidth connection," vice principal Nidup Dorji said. "This year with the new telecom substation the bandwidth has been increased to 128 kbps."

The college pays over Nu 48,000 a month for the lease line to druknet. The college is looking for assistance to set up an IT block that will house a computer laboratory, an internet cafe, and classes.

An old feeling among the people that although Kanglung was an ideal place for a college it was a bit cut off from the rest of the country no longer holds true. Internet has bridged the gap between the nation's remotely located premiere institute and the rest of the country. And the world.

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