The Department of Adult and Higher Education has developed the roadmap for tertiary education: 2017-27 mainly to operationalize the Tertiary Education Policy of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2010.
The roadmap would serve as a strategic guide for the growth and development of tertiary education in Bhutan for the next 10 years.
The enrolment at the tertiary level has shown an improvement over the past years. The total enrolment in in-country tertiary institutes increased from 6,245 in 2012 to 11,476 in 2017 with expansion of tertiary institutes from 11 to 18 within the same period.
According to the Secretary of Ministry of Education, Karma Yeshey, though much of the progress can be attributed to the numerous initiatives undertaken by the ministry in recent times, quality of education continues to remain a challenge.
To address this, in line with the aspirations of the Bhutan education blueprint ( 2014-24) developed in 2014 and the objectives of the 11th Five Year Plan(FYP) (2013-18), the ministry has initiated major reforms to enhance the quality of education mainly focusing on three pillars of education namely school, curriculum, and teacher.
The ministry is also currently in the process of formulating the 12th FYP, developing the national education policy, and scaling up the professional development of teachers.
This roadmap includes key policy guidelines and instructions the ministry issued from 2013 to June 2017. It contains policy matters related to school admission, revision of school academic session, child safety, health and wellbeing, boarding policy, central and autonomous schools, school curriculum, scholarships and undergraduate matters and teachers’ workload among others.
The school reform program began with the commencement of 24 central schools in 2015. By the end of 11th FYP, the ministry plans to establish a total of 62 central schools.
Additionally, there are also 22 autonomous non-central schools. In 2017, Chundu Central School in Haa became the first armed force school to provide more flexibility in management and governance of the school.
The ministry is also in the process of developing a concept of premier schools to focus more on their specialized field to cater to students with potential in their respective fields.
Three new government colleges were also established at Gyalposhing, Yonphula and Trashiyangtse beginning 2017 academic year.
In addition a new private college, Norbuling Rigter College at Norbuling under Dotey Gewog was established in Paro. As a regulatory authority, the Department monitored the establishment process of Norbuling Rigter College as per the provisions of Rules and Regulations for the Establishment of Colleges 2012 and Tertiary Education Policy of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2010.
“The establishment of new colleges in the country is expected to enhance access to tertiary education and ensure provision of higher education in a safe environment within the country,” said Karma Yeshey.
According to the Secretary, this would also help curtail resource drainage as thousands of students usually travel outside Bhutan to pursue higher education.
Pema Seldon from Thimphu