Many programs have been discontinued and repurposed in numerous colleges around Bhutan. In Sherubtse College, the majority of its programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences have been cancelled or repurposed.
With the exception of the Dzongkha lecturers, no decision has been made regarding the other lecturers that teach dismissed and repurposed programs because they still have a few years left to teach the current students studying discontinued or repurposed programs.
Certain lecturers continue to worry about the unpredictability of their future employment.
One of them is a lecturer from Sherubtse College, and he said that before there were fifteen programs offered by the college, however, due to the revamp, it boiled down to eight programs offered by the college.
A former lecture informed that following the announcement of the intention to redesign the institutions, six lecturers submitted their letters of resignation. She expects there will be more today due to the uncertainty for them.
Similarly, students reported that there appeared to be a shortage of lecturers.
Norbu, one of the students, informed that many programs have lecturers that cover two modules.
The Arts and Humanities programs were repackaged with the goal of helping students build their job market readiness skills, which is not only limited to Bhutan.
A Sherubtse lecturer said, “We used to have a B.A. Dzongkha and English course, but it was cancelled for some reason, so now we only have Dzongkha communication and six Dzongkha lecturers are there. According to the RUB, there was only a requirement for two Dzongkha lecturers, and the remaining four of us were offered two choices.”
The two choices are to transfer to another institution to work as a Dzongkha lecturer if there is a vacancy, or work as a Dzongkha teacher in high schools with all the perks you get as a lecturer with little allowance reduction.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development is in need of experienced Dzongkha teachers, and they are more than delighted to take expert Dzongkha lecturers, it was discovered during the conversation.
The lecturers appeared to be okay with the options they were provided despite being demoted from their previous position because they were assured that their grade would not change despite the change in title.
Due to their lack of foundational knowledge, the Dzongkha lecturers are currently not undergoing any training, which will make skill development and upskilling very challenging for them. As a result, they were advised to either find employment as Dzongkha teachers or transfer to another college as Dzongkha lecturers.
Another Dzongkha lecturer commented on the RUB’s provisional decision, saying, “I think we have no choice against the RUB’s decision as what they are doing looks appropriate. Programs will no longer be offered, hence we won’t have students to teach.”
Transferring to a different college to work as a Dzongkha lecturer was one option, but it did not work out well for one of the Dzongkha lecturers.
He explains, “Last time, I made the decision to transfer as a dzongkhag lecturer at GCIT, but subsequently I was told there was no need for any Dzongkha lecturer since they were going to regularize the one that was on a contract.”
It was informed that the decision had been made in its whole, but nothing in writing appears to have been officially delivered to them.
Students who are still enrolled at Sherubtse express their opinions over the discontinuation of their programs.
“It is sad because the program I am currently enrolled in seems to be of no use, according to what we hear,” Tshering stated.
“I am beginning to doubt how I will work when everyone has decided that what I am studying is useless in the modern era. It is demoralizing,” she continued.
Many of the students shared similar opinions, although some are rather positive about the decisions they made.
“Though judgements have been made regarding the discontinuation of programs or their repurposing, I do not take it to heart, I believe that in order to have an impact on the world, you must have the will and interest to do so, whether they say it is relevant or not,” said Devi, further adding, “All of it is up to us.”
After discussing the Sherubtse College curriculum with the president of Norbu Rigter College (NRC), the paper inquired about the admission of Arts and Humanities students to NRC.
“We have a student quota provided by RUB, and we cannot go beyond it,” the NRC president declared.
“Although there is a surge in applications, we choose not to submit an application to raise the number of available seats for students since we do not have the necessary infrastructure or staff to do so. Since quality is our goal,” he said.
According to him, there is a surge of between 40 percent and 70 percent in the number of candidates.
In contrast to other colleges, the president of NRC stated that they have no plans to repurpose their current programs. Instead, they will be replaced with more pertinent ones if they become outdated.
The NRC president affirmed that the college would offer the B.A. in English and B.A. in Dzongkha and English since he believes they are extremely useful programs.
“These programs deal with communication, and whether or not you are intelligent, communication is crucial in everyday life. You have the chance to work if you are competent at communicating,” he said.
The B.A. in Dzongkha, English, Socioeconomics, and Politics, according to the president, are all quite pertinent from the RCSC exams standpoint.
The lecturers at Sherubtse College who are undergoing upskilling programs, on the other hand, are content with the repurposing of programs.
The training and consultation, according to some of the lecturers undergoing upskilling programs, are proceeding well, and they discovered that the repurposing of the programs was appropriate in light of the shifting times.