The establishment of three colleges in the eastern part of country pledged by the present government will begin in July or August this year according to officials of the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB).
One college will be established in Gyelposhing Central School where the school and college will co-exist for the time being. The central school will be relocated to a suitable setting where it will be downgraded to an autonomous school.
For now, part of the campus will function as school and other half as college. Initially the college in Gyelposhing was to offer courses in Social Sciences but the government, after studying different prospects, considered that such courses can be offered by upcoming private colleges, and opted for ICT based programs.
“RUB has already started admitting students for the college through our online system and to begin with, we will be able to accommodate two sections for Bachelors in Computer Applications,” said RUB Vice-Chancellor Nidup Dorji. Initially, 80 students will be enrolled for the degree course.
Trashiyangtse Institute for Zorig Chusum will introduce a course specializing in Zorig Chusum, which will be managed by Ministry of Labour and Human Resources. “Since MoLHR has been handling the institute for a very long time, we though it’ll be appropriate for the ministry to overlook the college hereafter too,” said the VC.
For this college, 12 students will be selected to undergo the degree program to start with. Interested students will have to spend their first year studying the basics of Zorig Chusum in the same institute, after which the best 12 will be eligible for the degree program.
The reason behind Ministry handling the college is because it is instituted within the campus of Institute of Zorig Chusum and the Ministry will be responsible for initial set up of the college. The long term aim is to impart degree programs in Zorig Chusum. After the college is fully established, it’ll be handed over to RUB.
While for the Zorig program, they will be adopting the existing Zorig curriculum the curriculum for the Rigney program will be adopted from the College of Language and Cultural Studies where it is currently being implemented.
The third college to be established in Yongphula will offer Master’s in English for teachers. “For the time being we are offering Master’s Degree in English only for teachers as there is dire need for upgrading the content of qualifications of English teachers but in future we will enrolling others as well,” said Nidup Dorji. The spacious area, which was previously occupied by Royal Bhutan Army, has been chosen as the location of the college and necessary refurbishment works were carried out to suit the learning environment.
Initially around 30 candidates will be selected for the program. Master’s Degree in Mathematics will be introduced next year after curriculum development has been completed.
The Vice Chancellor said that work is underway to develop curriculums for additional programs in the coming years for the three of the colleges. He also said the main objective of the government to establish such colleges is to allow as many students as possible to be able to study within the country. “Many of our high school graduates are not able to pursue tertiary education inside the country as there is no room for further expansion of the existing facilities because the colleges are already overstretched,” the VC said.
In addition, the VC also pointed out that most youths in search of tertiary education end up in colleges that are not very reputed or even accredited by RUB which compromises quality of education and leads to wastage of financial resources.
The establishment of such educational programs is also part of the government’s Eastern Development Initiative.