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RUBโ€™s decreasing enrolment in arts stream stews students, teachers

โ€ฆthe employment of the arts teacher might also be eliminated if the number of pupils studying the arts declines, says the concern arts teacher

By Sonam Deki

With the Royal University of Bhutanโ€™s (RUB) initiative aimed at reducing enrollment in the arts stream, courses within the stream may be left unfilled by students from 2023 onwards, potentially resulting in the wane of the stream. As a consequence of this, arts teachers may need to consider transitioning to other areas of instruction if they are unable to teach different subjects.

There are more numbers of students in the arts stream with 88.72 pass percent while other streams with 85.85 and 87.63 percent in science and commerce respectively.

It is certain that fewer students will choose the arts stream in the future, according to one of the arts teachers. He said, โ€œWith the fewer students, the arts teachers would also be fewer.โ€

Both parents and students are worried about the sudden change in the course offerings. They should have made parents aware about the changes, and parents might have ensured that their children only enrolled in the science and commerce streams,โ€ said a concerned teacher.

โ€œWith decline in the number of arts students, there wonโ€™t be any job for the arts teacher either,โ€ stated an arts teacher in Damphu, Tsirang. โ€œI worry about what RUB will do with the extra arts teachersโ€, he added.

Another arts teacher said, โ€œI think huge impact would be noticed in the education system once they minimize arts courses in college as there are many history and geography teachers in schools.โ€

Leki Lhamo, arts teacher said, โ€œThere were more pupils choosing the arts stream in the past and we had more arts teachers. I am unsure of the current situation, but in the future, I believe there will be an excess of arts teachers with no arts studentsโ€. So, these arts teachers would have no choice then to travel abroad, she continued.

Kelzang Dema said, โ€œI think the changes are startlingly abrupt. Before making that choice, they may have raised their heads. Maybe they could make courses available before exams so that students can get ready based on course availability and personal interests. However, since the decision was taken in this manner, there is now nothing we can do. Many students are regretting and feeling frustrated for choosing the arts program because they are unsure now. Regardless of the courseโ€™s focus, in my opinion, students should still choose things they enjoy and are proficient inโ€.

She further added, โ€œIn my opinion, this shouldnโ€™t have any impact on our line of work. In a panic, students may attempt to force themselves to select technical courses that they donโ€™t enjoy or are weak in. Finally, we are teachers and we have the necessary training. It is not only our responsibility to educate but also to stabilize such uncertainty. We must ensure that our students are not alarmed by such circumstances. Our profession will continue, and weโ€™ll make sure that our pupils maintain the same interest in the subject, as long as the ministry doesnโ€™t remove it.โ€

Kinley said, โ€œI concur that it is necessary to update and improve courses while keeping in mind the changes occurring both domestically and abroadโ€.

Another educator said, โ€œI simply wish that what we are expecting wouldnโ€™t occur. We must be unnecessarily worryingโ€.
One of the parents remarked, โ€œArts was always thought to be the least viable path, so I advise my children to pursue science or commerce, but it is their choice and I canโ€™t compel them either.โ€ โ€œNow I feel it could have been better for their future if I had forced them a little,โ€ she continued.

Similar to this, the majority of arts alumni expressed their sorrow at RUB accepting fewer arts students.Tandin Wangmo, graduate from Yangchenphu Higher Secondary School said, โ€œEqual chances must be provided to students in the arts and the other two streams. Iโ€™m afraid that cutting out the arts will do nothing for the nation but erode public confidence in the institution of government. We arts students joined the arts stream because of desire, not because we were ineligible for the other streams. Why are you treating us arts students so poorly when there is rules in the nation that mandate that everyone be treated equally? I implore you all to carefully consider the choices you all are makingโ€.

One of the students remarked, โ€œMy parents insisted that I enroll in either science or business, but I persuaded them to let me join the arts stream. The abrupt changes in the RUB have now given my parents another basis for their actionsโ€.
She added, โ€œI suppose my parents were correct as well because Iโ€™m currently quite concerned about the future. Iโ€™ll make an effort to persuade my younger siblings to major in science or commerce streams in the futureโ€.
Yoezer Dema expressed her hope that any action that the RUB takes will be in the best interests of the students, saying, โ€œI am rather surprised to hear this news.โ€

According to the RUB Vice Chancellor Nidup Dorji, the reforms will be a continual process; programs will be examined, updated, revised, and made more pertinent to the shifting job market.

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