NRENs Activities During Pandemic and Attained Resillience
March 15, 2023 Kathamandu, Nepal
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of life, and the National Research and Education
Networks (NRENs) in South Asia are no exception. These NRENs have had to deal with a significant
disruption of services, which has had an impact on research and education in the region.
However, despite these challenges, NRENs in South Asia have shown remarkable resilience and have
continued to provide essential services to their users.
At this year's APAN55 event in Kathmandu, Nepal, BdREN presented on the wide spread success of the two Asi@Connect projects facilitating Distance Learning using Digital Conferencing facility (fDLuDCf) and Building e-Learning Infrastructure in South Asian countries under TEIN (BeLISAC).
On 15 March 2023, in Kathmandu, Nepal, the session “NRENs’ activities during the pandemic and attained resilience” at the APAN55 meeting saw Mohammad Tawrit, CEO of Bangladesh Research and Education Network (BdREN), on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Asi@Connect Project, presented how both the projects helped the south asian NRENs in the pandemic.
One of the significant challenges NRENs faced during the pandemic was the sudden shift to remote
learning and working. However, with their experience in providing high-speed internet services,
NRENs were quick to adapt and upgrade their infrastructure to meet the increasing demand. This
allowed students, teachers, and researchers to continue their work uninterrupted and maintain
the continuity of their research and education. It was only possible for the existing fDLuDCf
project and its subsequent BeLISAC project.
NRENs in South Asia also collaborated with their counterparts in other regions to develop and share best practices in remote working and learning. These collaborations allowed NRENs to learn from each other's experiences and adopt best practices quickly, reducing the impact of the pandemic on research and education in the region.
As Principal Investigator of both projects, Mohammad Tawrit expressed his gratitude for both NORDUnet and TEIN*CC for their invaluable contribution to the execution of the fDLuDC project, which created facilities for distance learning in five beneficiary countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand). Similarly, he appreciated the co-financing of the follow-up project BeLISAC for the continuation of facilitation of online education and the advancement of female engineers and students in the community.
The session held speakers from the south asian NRENs and NORDUnet and TEIN*CC. Speakers from the
NRENs expressed their experiences in the difficult times of the pandemic and how both the
projects helped at the time of need. They also thanked NORDUnet and TEIN*CC for their immense
support. Among the NREN speakers were
Chalermpol Charnsripinyo, ThaiREN
Karma Jamyang, Chief ICT Officer, DrukREN, Government Technology (GovTech) Agency
Rajan Parajuli, Executive Director, Nepal Research and Education Network
Asitha Bandaranayake, Consultant CTO/LEARN, LEARN
Roshan Ragel, Consultant CEO, LEARN
Senevi Herath, Senior Network/System Manager, LEARN
Nattanakit Panitsatapon, Engineer, NECTEC
Nirajan Parajuli, Network Engineer, Nepal Research and Education Network
Bhushan Raj, NREN
Lee Sung, School of Computer Science and Eng., Nanyang Technological University, SingAREN
The session included the female engineers of BeLISAC project who shared their experiences working in the project and how the projects helped start the change the gender disparity in their respective NRENs. Speakers included Binita Kusum Dhamala, Network Engineer, Nepal Research and Education Network who was present on site and Saima Hossain Faria, System/Network Engineer, Bangladesh Research & Education Network (BdREN) and Mercy Anandakumar, Network Engineer, Lanka Education and Research Network who joined remotely.
The honorable guests from the benefactor organizations spoke also in the session. Rene Buch now CTO of RICS.DIGITAL and former CEO of NORDUnet and Valter Nordh who is the current CEO of NORDUnet and Hocheol Charles Chae who is a Researcher for TEIN*CC expressed their pleasure in helping the emerging NRENs. They felt that the NRENs are building a community of collaboration which will help this region grow to new heights. Erik-Jan Bos also joined virtually to helped support the success of the projects and shared his experience and hopes for the NRENs.
Awards and Certificates
The session hosted a awarding ceremony at the end. Awards were given to NORDUnet and TEIN*CC their strong support for BdREN and other Asian NRENs the two Asi@Connect projects facilitating Distance Learning using Digital Conferencing facility (fDLuDCI) and Building e-Learning Infrastructure in South Asian countries under TEIN (BeLISAC). The speakers also received awards for their hard work and making the event successful.