Generally, there is a prejudice that students who study humanities usually have trouble getting employed. Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) will be doing away with humanities subjects in government colleges and is replacing it with more technical courses to make students more employable and relevant to the job market.
However, this decision was met with dissatisfactions from students and parents.
Currently, students who studied humanities courses say that society can’t be built with just science students, sharing that humanities students are more creative, artistic and have other soft skills.
Having studied English in Sherubtse and currently freelancing as a writer, Sangay shares that people’s notion on humanities student being unemployed is wrong. “Most people have this notion that students who studies liberal arts or humanities do not get jobs or don’t have secure employment. But I find that to be completely untrue as these days, getting a job is mostly about having skills or a necessary skill set than your course background.”
Tshering, who studied humanities, and is currently interning at a tech firm shared she felt disheartened when she came to know humanities was done away with. “I have always been a literature and art person and I’m sure there are many who are like me. All human cultures throughout history have placed high value on it as it promotes greater intercultural understanding and builds the foundation for a life of civic engagement. The sole purpose of education is not only developing skills but more importantly on teaching human values. These core values will be relevant in all times to come and it is disappointing to know that we will face such a loss.”
People have always associated humanities to social thinkers, philosophy, writers and academic scholars. It was also associated with creativity, artistry and political awareness and whereas science or stem is always associated with technology, engineering, math and computer science.
Now with stem subjects given importance, students have voiced that although stem education is important to our country and RUB is aiming to take a practical step by doing away with the humanities subject, yet they feel that humanities studies are also required for progress.
“Our country currently needs doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and those skilled in IT and science. Our economy has need for them and not humanities students honestly. However, these humanities students are the creative minds, writers, artists, musicians, thinkers, and even policy makers. These people make up half the society and I believe with RUB doing away the subjects, we will be losing a certain section of creative minds,” added Tshering.
Deki, who studied humanities in Sherubtse college and is currently working with a consultancy firm shared that RUB will be losing talented people. “It is disheartening to think about the loss of talented students and people. Humanities students are talented and do not fit the people’s conception of talent where they have to prove their talent through building things in tangible forms. They have mind-blowing thinking capacity, flexible mindset, and are very creative in nature.”
As people associates humanities with unemployment, Tshewang, a humanities student now employed within the civil service shares that background does not matter. “At the end of the day, it depends on an individual’s responsibility and determination to make it through the national exam (BCSE) to get employed. I mean your study background hardly matters; it is an individual’s talent that leads them to a job.”
Although people associated humanities with unemployment, a certain section of the public feels the opposite, finding humanities to be the core essence of a society, and now students who are passionate about learning humanities are robbed of an opportunity to pursue their passion.
Parents are dissatisfied with the discontinuation and at the same time, the public is sharing that this discontinuation will send youngsters to other countries, mainly Australia.
An official from RUB, shared that the public’s view on humanities is wrong. “We have not done away the humanities courses. We simply revamped the courses into the new courses to make it more relevant to the 21st century. Surely, the courses were relevant before but these courses are more relevant, more technology based and management based.”
The entry for these courses will not be limited to just science students or arts students. The entry to the courses will be based on entrance and aptitude tests and marks of class 12 will be used for shortlisting.