Minister says Arts students have several options at the tertiary level

Minister says Arts students have several options at the tertiary level

During question hour on June 23, 2023, National Assembly (NA) Member of Parliament (MP), Gyambo Tshering from Bardo Trong constituency, Zhemgang district, questioned about transparency, admission criteria for eligibility, shortlisting, and selection for higher education of Arts students. The MP underlined that there are about 5,805 Arts and Humanities students who have passed the Board Exam in 2022. He further said those arts students who scored 80% and above in Class XII are not even shortlisted for vacancies that the government claimed to have created for them to pursue higher education in colleges.

The MP also said that although the government had supposedly created 300 vacancies for arts students, the criteria included a requirement for mathematics, which excluded many candidates.

The MP asked the minister what the government is planning and has done for those art students who have graduated and who will be graduating in the coming years.

While underlining that there is no dearth of opportunities for students taking Arts to pursue further education, the minister of Education and Skilled Development (MoESD), Jai Bir Rai said that there are about 1,313 arts students pursuing their higher studies in different colleges across the country.

The minister clarified that there was a misunderstanding regarding the recruitment of arts students for higher studies in college. “The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) had suspended some courses that were not applicable to future job prospects for arts graduates,” the minister said.  

The minister explained that the reforms primarily affected arts students who had not taken mathematics.

However, the minister said that there were ample opportunities available for arts graduates in various fields. These included programs such as Bachelor in Administration and Commerce, Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Development, and specialized courses offered at Jigme Namgyal Engineering College and Paro College of Education.

Some of the courses offered, as informed by the minister, are Bachelor in Administration and Commerce and Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Development for all graduates across all streams.

The minister said that Jigme Namgyal Engineering College, provides courses such as diplomas in computer systems and networking and diplomas in material and procurement management, which are eligible for all high school students of all streams.

The minister also said that there are opportunities for the students to pursue studies at Paro College of Education, such as a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education, a Bachelor’s degree in Dzongkha Education, and a diploma in Physical Education and Sports.

The other options available are Bachelor’s in economic and political science, Bachelor’s in digital communication and project management, Bachelor’s in data science and data analysis, Bachelor’s in computer science and Bachelor’s in interactive design and development. The minister also said that Bachelor’s in education in secondary Information technology, is also there which is offered to every individual who graduate from high school, despite their stream,

The minister said that the opportunities were provided equally to all high school graduates, regardless of their stream, be it science, arts, or commerce. “However, there was a misconception that arts graduates, totaling 5,805, were being left without any opportunities,” the minister said. 

The minister informed the house that 43% of arts stream students, or about 1,313 individuals, had been admitted to various RUB colleges across the country.

The minister also informed the house that due to reforms in RUB, about 395 students have been affected. However, the minister said that about 230 have already been given opportunities, and there are plans to admit the remaining students in the July intake.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu