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Disgruntled parents want their children admitted into colleges

Tashi Namgyal

Parents who are disgruntled by recent developments want the education ministry to provide a lasting solution to admit their children into colleges or other tertiary institutions.

The ineffectiveness of the education ministry to absorb all class 12 passed students into colleges has left many students and parents alike in a delirium, not knowing what lies next in their course of life.

This comes in the wake of the education ministry being able to absorb only about a quarter of the total class 12 students who qualified for further studies into various colleges.

Of some 12,500 students who qualified for further studies this academic session, the education minister recently reported that only around 3,500 of them will be enrolled into  various colleges, which means that the remainder of these students are left almost clueless with the pandemic breezing strong on the outset.

“What will we do, where will we go,” a class 12 passed graduate SherabTamang said. “It feels useless to acquire 72 percent in this day and age if we are not able to attend college,” another disgruntled class 12 graduate lamented.

“It may just be policy interpretation for the government which will whizz by with another policy. But what with the time and effort which we spend all these years? What will we say to our illiterate parents back in the village?” opined 17 year-old Tshering Lhamo.

Her 20 year-old sibling only fears worse, for he is not sure what his sister would do in the days, months, or even years to come if the government does not come up with a solution sooner.

Some parents said that the confusion was more aggravated without the cut-off point. “The main reason for more students who failed to secure college is because of abandoning the class 10 cut-off point,” a father of two class 12 students, Sherab Gyeltshen said. “Since there is no cut-off point, everybody is eligible to attend till class 12 which eventually jams the traffic into colleges.”

Another parent suggested that creation of more public and private colleges should be encouraged by the government. “Given the affordability and accessibility of a university degree in this day and age, who wouldn’t want to obtain it,” she said.

A few resentful parents also called for an overhaul in the entire education system until the college level. “The so called autonomy of the RUB is doing more harm than good to the country, especially to the children from humble family. Do away the self-funding and enroll all students into government colleges to its full capacity based on merit.”

The situation also caught the attention of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who in a recent press release called for the government to direct private and government colleges inside the country to take in students to their fullest capacity.

Although the government already mentioned that the situation is worsened by the pandemic, PDP reminded that the pandemic has been there for almost two years and that the government should have been prepared to handle the situation.

“The government should also have known that the first batch of students who were promoted to class 11 without the cut-off point would graduate class 12 this year. Infact 2774 students out of 3692 who received the government scholarship are among the students left without a clear direction for their further studies,” the press release read.

On the contrary, PDP stated, they were surprised that the government colleges within the country have reduced the in-take numbers which fueled the gravity of the situation. According to the party, many parents and students who wished to continue further studies in government and private colleges within the country are denied admission even when the scores are as high as 70 percent which is a score that fetches a college admission easily during normal times.

Emphasizing more on the admissions, the party also reflected on the TVET programs in the country, saying that TVET would also serve as a viable option to attract class 12 students. Among others, PDP urged the government to allow the colleges to increase their capacity on a fast-track basis to enable them to admit students at the earliest time possible. The party also asked the government to liaise with colleges and institutions abroad where the pandemic situation has improved and is under control to facilitate admission and movement of students.

According to some parents from Thimphu, the pandemic has been there and might possibly be there for some time. While the government can leverage their inconsistencies onto COVID, it also needs to face the reality and gear up for changing times.

“Investments into education will have far reaching positive impacts for our nation than any other freebies,” one parent resonated. “The government needs to rev up and sooner because we don’t want our children to languish on the streets without anything to do.”

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