Bhutan Accreditation Council (BAC) awarded accreditation certificates to five tertiary education institutes (TEIs) at Thimphu yesterday.

The Gaeddu College of Business Studies (GCBS), Samtse College of Education (SCE), Paro College of Education (PCE), Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, and Faculty of Traditional Medicines were awarded the certificates with grades A, A, B, B, and B respectively.

According to press release from the department of adult and higher education (DAHE), the main purpose of the accreditation is to ensure that a minimum standard is met by all TEIs, both private and public. It is also aimed at advising, supporting and encouraging TEIs to maintain and enhance their quality of services.

Chief programme officer with DAHE’s Quality Assurance and Accreditation Division (QAAD), N. B. Raika, said that based on the accreditation principles and manual an institute has to submit a self-assessment report. “Based on the report by TEIs, DAHE will identify accreditors. For an instance, this time the education colleges and medical institutes were accredited for which the accreditors were trained in assessment using the accreditation manual.”

There are six core standards – curricular elements; research, innovation practices and institutional linkages; governance, leadership and management infrastructure; learning resources; student support; and internal quality assurance and enhancement system.

Officiating secretary of education ministry, Karma Tshering, said that all institutions should go for accreditation because it shows quality and in the process institutes will be in position to provide quality education. “It is a stepping stone for institutes in Bhutan to reach world class education.”

President of SCE, Dorji Thinley, said that the accreditation has been very encouraging. “If there were no accreditation, then there are chances of education institutes becoming complacent.”

The BAC and TEIs in Bhutan uphold the principle of accreditation, which is the participation in the accreditation process as per Tertiary Education Policy of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2010. Accreditation is an earned and renewable status.

Director of DAHE, Kesang C. Dorji, said that accreditation primarily is to assure quality of programme and institution itself. “Once we have the recognition by the national authority like BAC, it becomes mutual recognition for regional integration. DAHE also looks at recognitions of qualifications coming to Bhutan from outside. In the same way, they will recognise and look at the qualifications that we have attested.”

She said that until now higher education institutes have not been accredited by a national authority like BAC.

The validity of the accreditation certificates, however, will rely on the kind of grades the institutions receive.

The accreditation of the remaining six institutes will be undertaken before the end of 2018.

Rinchen Zangmo