Not compromising on the quality and standard of colleges in the country, the government has requested the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) to increase its in-take of students so that the students can continue to lead constructive lives learning in the college campuses.
The Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering said RUB can keep taking whatever they can take, and the government has not asked RUB to increase or decrease the intake capacity. However, the situation now is different where students securing 70 percent are also not getting admission into the colleges.
Normally, about 11,000 students complete class XII, but now there are more than 12,000 students who have completed their XII this year as the government had increased the number of students from classes X to XII.
RUB takes in roughly about 2,500 students, and this year, around 2,300 students secured admission into government colleges. Around 4,000 students did not get in the RUB and some have opted to study outside the country, mostly in India. Equal or little more number of students has opted to study outside for further studies, and that is the reason that the colleges in the country are over packed.
RUB colleges cannot be crowded just because class XII students are looking for seats. Also, restricting the numbers of students’ intake in the colleges, just to maintain RUB standard, is not right either, PM said.
Due to reduction policy in RUB and students who cannot travel outside for their further studies due to COVID-19, class XII pass students are left with no option. So the government has requested all the tertiary educational institutions to increase the in-take capacity without compromising the quality.
Also, increasing the number of seats will mean having to immediately increase the faculty members. So it is little difficult to do it overnight.
Lyonchhen said the biggest intake capacity is in Jigme Namgyel Engineering College in Dewathang and College of Science and Technology (CST) in Kharbandi but there are no applicants. As per the education ministry, some of the XI science seats are vacant in many schools. Everyone is emphasizing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and there are no takers of STEM subjects. Everything is transformed into digitalized but no one is taking up digital subjects, which is something to worry about said Lyonchhen.
To have more science subject takers, it should start from the pre-primary students and change their mindset. And that is the reason for improving the quality of education system. To improve the quality of education takes decades, added Lyonchhen.
In an earlier story done by The Bhutanese, STEM is a separate school being planned by the education ministry. Although STEM is a new kind of specialized school for the gifted students in Bhutan, however, many countries around the world already have such schools.
The best of the best students studying in class VI will be selected from different schools in Bhutan to study in the STEM school. The students will be given admission from class VII, and they will be focusing on a particular subject area for an in-depth study. Education minister, JB Rai, said STEM education aims to have the students take more interest and focus in particular subjects.
The infrastructure for the school is estimated to cost Nu 1 billion. Currently, the education ministry is conducting research on the school, and will have a concept ready by 2020.
Meanwhile, the government along the education ministry and labour ministry are looking at possibilities to increase the seats in technical institutes, vocational institutes and other training institutes in the country. The government will open up more avenues to class XII graduates to participate.