Opposition slams govt. on the discontinuation of arts and humanities subjects

Druk Phuesum Tshogpa


The Opposition Party has slammed the government on the discontinuation of arts and humanities subjects and urges the government to restructure and retain the courses in the education system.

In a press release issued by the party, the party recommended that Arts and Humanities courses should be restructured as a part of larger education and national reforms to enhance relevance and employability but not done away with. The opposition claims that these subjects do have critical role and eternal relevance to society and nation.

According to the party one of the realizations of centuries of education, particularly in the developed world is ‘Science without humanities creates a society without morals and humanities without science does not innovate a society.’ So, both science and humanities are critical in nation-building and human civilization.

DPT said this also syncs well with our His Majesty the King’s noble goal of education being to create ‘Globally Competent, Locally Rooted’ citizens.

“Having closely followed the reform initiatives and in particular, the current issues of discontinuing or repackaging or re-purposing the tertiary education programmes, the main lacuna seem to lie in: first, lack of proper prior planning and second, followed by abrupt announcement of changes,” the party wrote.

The party further states that His Majesty the King had issued two Royal Decrees during the 112th National Day in December 2019 one for the for formulation of 21st century economic road map, and two for education reform. Three years have lapsed but none has come to light and had the government done its job, the current predicament and challenges would not have arisen.

The abrupt decision has hugely impacted children, teachers and parents alike. The party says that this move has directly affected 5805 Arts student who passed class XII examinations recently. But that is not all who are being affected but will affect those currently studying in Class XII and XI too.

In view of the foregoing, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa recommended to restructure and retain Arts and Humanities courses in our tertiary education system.

“However, if the government wants to discontinued the courses in the long run, then it should be implemented in a phased manner allowing the current Class XII passed and studying, XI and those undertaking supplementary papers in colleges complete their college studies; chart seamless transition for children to other courses as well as for Arts teachers to other fields of teaching or other employment avenues; and diversify education and training pathways and opportunities for children post-class X.”

The opposition party also urged the government and relevant agencies to work closely, as a team and resolve the current issues expeditiously and most importantly, chart a clear long-term road map for the education sector from primary to tertiary levels.

The Royal University of Bhutan has recently announced that colleges under RUB have discontinued arts and humanities courses and the teachers teaching these subjects are to take up upskilling courses to teach other courses in the colleges.

Moreover, the government has said that it is exploring ways to increase the undergraduate intake for teaching and nursing courses and increasing government scholarships in private colleges.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that the government is in constant discussion with the RUB to increase the intake and slots in some courses where humanities students could be enrolled to pursue tertiary education in the country.