Royal University of Bhutan

RUB to revamp, phase out and introduce new courses across all 12 Colleges to make Graduates more employable

The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) is currently in the midst of revamping many courses, doing away with some and getting in new courses in all 10 institutes under it and also the two private colleges affiliated to it.

The Vice Chancellor (VC) Nidup Dorji while confirming the above said that it is still in the process and it will take some time before the final decision is taken.

He assured that since the intake for the 2022-23 has already happened there will be no impact on this batch and this academic year.

He said that there are discussions on to see what best use the campuses can be put to in terms of revamping courses and also phasing out some courses.

The VC said that the focus going forward will be more on STEM which are subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math so that graduates would be job ready.

He said that on the other hand some courses would be done away with.

Even the Arts and Humanities courses offered in various colleges will undergo change as in they will be repackaged and offered in a different form.

The VC said these repackaged Humanities programs would be fit for a purpose and develop the competencies of the students for the job market.

Subjects like Economics and Statistics could be made part of the humanities stream to make them more employable.

“We are going to look at how we can make programs more related to what is required in the world of work,” said the VC.

Giving an example, he said in the Economics Program rather than just focus on theory the aim would be to look at applying economic principles to finance, development etc. It could incorporate Statistics as a part of it since they are linked.

He said in the past, the RUB had done away with programs like Bhutanese and Himalayan Studies in Taktse.

The VC said the focus in STEM is also aligning it to the real world. He said while the programs in basic sciences are very important the focus will on how it can be applied in areas like agriculture, industry etc.

The backdrop of the RUB’s plan to revamp and phase out courses is also in terms of what is happening around the world in terms of programs undergoing changes with fast paced changes in technology etc.

The VC said that the courses will make the students ready for the future. He said something like engineering is undergoing so many changes along with technology. He said the focus is also on more tech based programs.

This is where colleges like the College of Science and Technology (CST) and the Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology (GCIT) come into play.

The VC said that there are a lot of changes underway in GCIT in terms of looking at big data, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chains etc.

The VC said that the revamping of the courses and new courses will also require infrastructural changes in certain places too.

One effort of the whole exercise will be to avoid duplication of certain courses. The VC said that while Sherubtse offers BA in Media Studies the Royal Thimphu College BA in Mass Communication and both have a lot in common.

He said on the other hand the job market for these students is very small.

“We have to gear up to meet the needs of the country and we also want to make graduates employable with skill that can get them employment,” said the VC.

He said courses like BA in English and Dzongkha are offered in both Sherubtse and Norbuling Rigter College and so this course could be deployed to just one college.

The VC said that RUB is also working with the Ministry of Education especially when it comes to the Paro and Samtse Colleges of Education for Teachers. He said there will be revamps there especially in terms of new ways of doing things and the process of teaching.

There will be changes even in Commerce stream courses like BCom and BBA. He said these will be reviewed to fit with the job market and the economy as well as the digital way of doing things.

The VC said that apart from the revamp there will be relocation to avoid duplication of courses to one college and there will be some entirely new programs too.

In terms of new courses, he said there are new ones in places like GCIT with programs like Bachelor of Computer Science focusing on Artificial Intelligence Development and Data Science and another on focused on Block Chain Development, Machine Learning, Digital Media, Full Stack Development.

The VC said that even in terms of teaching there will be more emphasis on using the digital platform.

The VC said that even if certain programs are discontinued they will be done so from July 2023 and the students who took the courses earlier will be allowed to complete it.

He said that the RUB is also looking at the introduction of the Gyalsung which will be for one year after high school and here the RUB wants to avoid any repetition of courses already given by the Gyalsung program.

The status and future of the College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) at Taktse is also being looked at closely.

When it comes to the two private colleges of RTC and Norbuling Rigter the VC said these two colleges are affiliated with the RUB and offer the courses offered by the RUB.

He said they can offer the new or revamped courses of the RUB provided they have the infrastructure and capacity for it.

The VC said that traditionally teaching was done with board and chalk, but going forward it will be a blended approach using online resources.

He said the last two year of the pandemic had been an important learning experience for RUB here.

He said the role of the teacher will also undergo some change here.

The VC said that RUB will also stress on doing real world internships in work places, companies and industries where the students have an opportunity to work on projects as project based learning is far more than theoretical learning.

The VC said that one difficulty is there is no forecast of how many economists, engineers etc are required in the country. He said at one stage there was a shortage of civil engineers, but now there is a glut.

He said in that scenario an important aspect of the RUB courses is to train the students to be flexible and adaptable as if people are trained in only one thing then nobody can predict when that course or job becomes obsolete as the technology rapidly changes with machine learning etc.

He said the focus is to do things that cannot be done by machines in the 21st century.

He said that what is done at school should be linked to higher education and they in turned should be linked to the real world. He said the days of having programs for the sake of programs are gone.

When asked why the RUB does not offer specialized Masters Courses the VC said that this is something that is driven by demand and in Bhutan since most of the masters’ courses have to be paid for -there is not much demand for it and generally people prefer to go abroad for Masters Courses.

The 10 government Colleges directly under RUB are Sherubtse, CLCS, Gedu College of Business Studies, College of Natural Resources, CST, GCIT, Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, Samtse College of Education, Paro College of Education and Yonphula Centenary College.

RTC and Norbuling Rigter while being private colleges are affiliated to RUB and follow its courses and guidelines.

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