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Slots yet to be filled

… for reasons varying from marks to means

Even as seven scholarships announced by the department of adult and higher education (DAHE) for class XII students lay vacant, 22 more have been announced recently.

Of the 210 in country and out country scholarships offered this year, 203 have been filled.

Three, assistance to privately enrolled medical students (APEMS) scholarships, were not taken.  APEMS scholarship supports tuition fee, while the candidate has to bear the other expenses.  Each year, two to three slots in this category go vacant.

“People, who have the means, don’t meet the requirement; and those, who meet the required marks, don’t have the means,” DAHE’s chief program officer, Baburam Sherpa, said.

Two scholarships for bachelor’s in computer applications at the Royal Thimphu College had no eligible candidates, because of the subject requirements.

Another two scholarships went vacant after the candidates withdrew, saying they were not content with the choice of course or the institution.  One was in bachelor’s of bio-medical engineering.

Selected candidates can withdraw, until they are placed in the institutions, an education official said.

Of the recently announced (March 7) 22 scholarships, two are six-years MBBS course at the Latin American school of medicine in Cuba while the other 20 are Indian council for cultural relations (ICCR) scholarships in engineering in India.  The deadline for applications for these scholarships is March 15.

Education officials said these are ad hoc bilateral scholarships and depended on the concerned countries on when to offer. “Immediately after we receive them, we announce and call for applications,” Baburam Sherpa said, refuting claims that the scholarships were deliberately delayed.

According to education officials, candidates selected for other scholarships, whether inside or ex-country, and the royal university of Bhutan institutes, would not be eligible for these scholarships.

The 173 students qualified for scholarships abroad were briefed on how to cope in a foreign land, manage their studies and leisure while “living the purpose”, in a two-day briefing that ended yesterday in Thimphu.  Students learnt about the support measures in place for them, should they come across any problems while studying.

Students expressed mixed views on the waiting time before they leave for colleges.

Selection for scholarships was done on March 6.  Students start leaving for colleges from June until January next year.  Bachelors in medicine and science (MBBS) students in Bangladesh leave last.

Baburam Sherpa said students could not be sent soon after their selection, because it had to coincide with the admission timing of the colleges or universities they are placed in.

“Moreover, we can’t bring forward or postpone the selection process, because of various other factors, including the declaration of results,” he said.

One of the scholarship students, Karma Wangdi from Trashiyangtse, said he would have to wait for some months before he begins his studies. “I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said. “I wish I could continue my studies straightaway.”

Another student said this would be the last time for him to spend some good time with his parents before he leaves for a good number of years. “I’m just going to be with my parents,” a student said.

Dendup Gyaltshen, 20, chose to study dental surgery in India, while his two other childhood friends are going to pursue engineering.

“I’ll go home and look after the cattle as I do every winter,” the student from Orong higher secondary school said.

Meanwhile, Passang, a former student of Ugyen Academy, who missed the first batch of scholarships by a few places, said he is hopeful of securing one in the second round. “If we go strictly by merit, I’m very confident to get one of the Cuban slots, because my aggregates are higher than most applicants,” he said.

By Tshering Palden

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  1. I know Baburam very well. He talks with baseless evidence. This is a very corrupted office. They seats are booked for big shots(but with no head) so that in turn he can get a crooked promotion. No transparency. Ohh mother Bhutan…please wake up

  2. Why always right after the Selection interview? These are deliberate delayed for Big Shots! Now they seem to complain seats are vacat! Why full scholarship seats for MBBS got reduced and seats for APEMS increased? Let all selections be merit based. This happens yearly!

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