Left to Right: College of Natural Resources (CNR) & College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS)

Graduates from CLCS and CNR find it difficult to get jobs due to their courses

There are thousands of college graduates from 10 colleges and 2 private colleges affiliated to the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) entering the job market each year. Apart from the civil service, many find employment in the corporate sector and the private sector.

But the graduates from the College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) and College of Natural Resources (CNR) have a particularly difficult time finding employment.

The graduates of CLCS College agreed and they feel that the courses they have studied are not in demand in the job market. They are discouraged from even trying for job opportunities, as they have no relevant skills needed by employers.

A CLCS graduate in 2020, Sukman Tamang, said that the course he studied and the skills in demand are completely different.

He said, “I graduated from CLCS, and the only scope in the job market is to become a Dzongkha teacher. However, there’s a gap between the knowledge we are taught or have learned in our courses and the skills that is demanded by the job market. There is a relevancy issue, in terms of applicable skills and knowledge with the courses and job market.”

The gap between market readiness and the knowledge learned can be an issue, in terms of employment. Employment opportunities are announced every day, however, it is a common knowledge that graduates don’t get jobs related to their field of studies.

“Many of my friends and colleagues are unemployed. Almost 85 percent of them are unemployed, and I find it to be the relevancy issue. The only relevant courses taught in the country that can secure a job here are mostly students of engineering colleges and nursing colleges,” he added.

CNR graduates are also in the same predicament. However, a few CNR graduates believe their courses are relevant in the field of employment.

A, 23-year-old CNR graduate of 2022, holding a Degree in Forestry shared that smaller employment opportunities results in unemployment.

“Strictly speaking, in my field of studies, there is a good level of relevancy between the course I studied and the requisites that the job of a forester demands. However, very few slots are created for employment, and the number of graduates in any field, and in my field also, are always 5 to 10 times more than the slots available. This year’s Bhutan Civil Service Exam had only two slots, and two graduates got through, and others are unemployed at the moment,” he said.

He said that the most relevant courses for employment are IT related courses as the world is getting digitalized, and so is Bhutan.

CLCS College has done away with some of its course like, Bhutanese and Himalayan Studies and it was replaced by a new degree course called Dzongkha and Culture Studies in 2021 for better employability.

On the other hand, in the past, hundreds of job seekers would apply for most job vacancies announced, and competition was fierce, however, recently, that has not been the case. The recent trend of people leaving their jobs for opportunities outside indicates many job openings for fresh graduates, and those who are unemployed. There is lesser number of applicants vying for the vacancies.

A CLCS graduate Sonam Deki, shared her sentiments on the employability issue and market readiness.

She said, “I believe there is a significant gap between market readiness and the job we seek. When we graduate, we have only learned the fundamentals, and we are not ready for the job market. We frequently hear that there are numerous job opportunities, but there are fewer applicants. Youth are not taking up the job because the courses they study and learned are completely different from the criteria the job requires.”

Talking with the President of CNR, he shared that employment issues are same with all the colleges.

“In terms of job opportunities, we are a small country with limited seats in government services. Our college studies are mostly about natural resources so there are opportunities in terms of self-employment, and the courses are relevant. However, in terms of employment opportunities, the government is a major employer, and in government services there are only limited seats every year, so not everyone can be absorbed, which is the same for every other college,” said the President of CNR.

According to the Dean of Academic Affairs of Taktse College, Jigme Dorji, employment issue is not about relevancy of the course.

He added, “Generally, studying Humanities subjects is about becoming social thinkers, writers, academic scholars. I think it is not about relevancy but due to unavailability of jobs. There are limited seats in the job market for social sciences and humanities, and I believe it is not about relevancy of the courses, but the gap between availability of jobs and the number of graduates in the country. That is why reforms are taking place in the education, some courses will be phased out in some higher education institutions.”

Most graduates said, in terms of market readiness, that there is a gap between the skills taught and learned and market readiness.

As per the Minister of Education, Jai Bir Rai, there is a gap between the market readiness and education.

“Yes, there is a gap between market readiness and the education. However, education is not to get oneself readied for employment, it is to discover one’s innate ability, it is about adapting, exploring and being innovative. Market dynamics changes overnight, and we can’t change the system to adapt to the market dynamics every time, ” Lyonpo JB Rai said.

The general education level is till high school, Lyonpo said.  In college levels students should narrow down the specifications, but students are not taught applicable or practical knowledge. One is taught some theories and practices, but it is one’s passion that drives one to acquire skills that will eventually get oneself hired, he added.

“Education’s vision is not about being job ready or market ready. Education’s main vision is readying the generation for higher purposes, and to understand one’s own potential and challenges and see how far the potential will take you,” shared the Education Minister.

The reality of the bleak employment scope in Bhutan has discouraged many graduates from even trying, and most of them are now bent on looking for better prospects abroad.

Sukman said that most of his friends have gone to Australia, and there are some who are planning to go as they feel Australia is a more profitable option than landing up unemployed.

Check Also

Tourism numbers improve in first three months of 2024 but a long way to go

The Department of Tourism said Bhutan welcomed 25,003 guests between January and March 2024 which …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *