Arts students voice discontent over limited scholarships

Recently, RCSC has announced 106 undergraduate scholarship opportunities for the academic session 2024-2025, both within and outside the country. The eligibility criteria specified that all class 12 graduates of 2023, except repeaters, were encouraged to apply.

However, there was dissatisfaction among Arts students due to the limited number of slots allocated to their stream. Out of the 106 scholarships available, there were 20 different sections, but none were specifically designated for Arts students. Despite the absence of a dedicated section for Arts, some students saw a glimmer of hope in the B.A. in Economics (Teaching) section. Nevertheless, Arts students interested in this section needed to have exceptional marks in economics and mathematics to compete with those in the commerce stream.

Various Arts students have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Arts stream being neglected and given the least priority on scholarships.

Dorji Tshering, a 12-grade Arts student at Gelephu Higher Secondary School, shared his reflections on choosing the Arts stream despite societal perceptions. He said, “Despite knowing that opting for an Arts stream might be regretful, my enthusiasm and curiosity to delve into the depth of Arts subjects diverted my attention from more privileged streams.”

He acknowledged the limited scholarships for the Arts students, initially feeling hopeless. However, after contemplation, he viewed it as a challenge, saying, “What’s limited leads to potential competition. It encouraged me to do better and put in the much-needed effort.”

Dorji emphasised the importance of facing challenges, stating, “It’s about discovering opportunities rather than being hopeless about their limited scope. It’s crucial to be prepared to face life’s challenges.”

Regarding the Arts course in Bhutan, he shared, “Arts shouldn’t be suppressed but promoted and preserved.” While acknowledging the potential of multimedia for youth, he questioned the authenticity and the extent of knowledge acquired.

He raised concerns about how many youths are curious enough to explore Arts independently. He concluded, “Neglecting Arts in Bhutan should be carefully reconsidered, and preserving Arts in its originality shouldn’t be a problem.”

Meanwhile, Sherubtse College has three new programs, Economics and Political Science, Project MGT. and Digital Comm, and Data Science and Data Analytics. In the three courses, 120 students will be selected on government scholarships and 30 will be admitted on a self-financing basis.

A former Arts student from the previous year, currently pursuing studies in Punjab, India, shared his perspective, stating, “I achieved an overall score of 74 percent last year. Considering previous trends, I had hoped to secure a spot in a reputable college, and it was disheartening not to get through any of the colleges.” He opted not to take Mathematics, as it wasn’t his strong subject. His interest lies in the digital realm of animation, so he enrolled in the Visual Arts course in Punjab, which covers animation and VFX extensively.

He said, “This course offers profound and comprehensive learning, introducing Bhutanese students to new concepts.”

He also shared, “As Bhutanese, we possess the potential to excel beyond the traditional paths of becoming doctors and engineers.” He also shared the vast opportunities in digital fields, especially in animation. He said, “The system should accept the diversity of courses just as how Bhutan accepts the diversity in culture.”

Expressing concern about the high tuition fees associated with such courses, the student suggested that introducing and allocating these opportunities to Arts students could lead to significant improvements.

Sangay Zangmo, another class 12 Arts student, shared her perspective on choosing the Arts stream and the challenges Arts students face. She emphasised the importance of pursuing one’s interests and dedication, stating, “Every stream has its perks, but what truly matters are our interest, coupled with dedication.” Sangay chose the Arts stream intending to serve the nation through equity and justice, aspiring to become a lawyer.

Reflecting on her experience, Sangay expressed a sense of not meeting expectations and acknowledged the limited scholarships available for Arts students. Despite this, she resisted claiming unfair treatment, recognizing the prevailing focus on STEM fields in the 21st century.

She acknowledged the impact on Arts students and said, “It also destroys the dreams and aspirations of Arts students.”

She highlighted the disparity in opportunities for science and commerce students, who receive scholarships to study overseas, and numerous prospects within the country. In contrast, Arts students, even high achievers, find themselves uncertain about course options domestically.

Sangay stated that no one deserves negligence, emphasising the diversity of skills and knowledge among individuals.

Addressing Arts students who may feel disheartened by their results, she said, “For those Arts students who feel like their life is ended after seeing the result, I want to say your life is beginning right now, and therefore start your journey with a hope.”

However, RCSC also announced the 7 slots of scholarships for class 12 non-repeaters, and none are particularly designated for Arts streams. However, they can still compete with the students in the science and commerce stream to get into courses offered like Applied Economics, Bachelors Education, International Affairs/Relations, and BBA in HRM. Meanwhile, the students wait for the availability of other scholarships with hope.

The absence of specific sections for Arts students has led to a collective expression of dissatisfaction, highlighting the need for more inclusivity in scholarship offerings. The voices of students call for a reconsideration of the neglect faced by Arts students, and emphasises the importance of recognizing and nurturing diverse skills and knowledge among individuals, and a more inclusive approach to education and scholarship opportunities that extend beyond academic streams.

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  1. I think that if they only allow less number of scholarships to art students that thing isn’t fair why only less slots for students when there are large number of arts graduates

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