This time, it has asked 25 BSc Nursing Bhutanese students to pay the fees
Education: More than a year after they were sent on a financial aid programme to the Indo Asian Academy Degree College in Bengaluru, India, Bhutanese students are still confused with the various demands the college imposes on them.
About five months since the last issue with the 195 students studying in the same college was resolved, another 25 students who are studying BSc in Nursing were asked to pay their examination fee of Nu 8,200 each.
Sent last July through a consultancy called Careerinfo Bhutan, based in Thimphu, the 25 students had paid Nu 90,000 each for a four-year degree programme. Under the programme, they were told that the hostel and tuition fees were waived for Bhutanese students. They were promised that the college would ask for no additional fees.
One of the students, through an email interview, said he didn’t know what to make of it when the college asked the students from the Nursing course to pay Nu 42,000 in addition to the examination fee of Nu 8,200 each.
“We were asked to pay Nu 4,000 for cultural fee, Nu 4,000 for sports fee, Nu 4,000 for tuition fee, Nu 15,000 for training courses and Nu 15,000 for transportation fee,” the student said.
The students were also asked to pay additional Nu 100,000 if they didn’t pass their examination and if they failed, they won’t be given any hostel provisions.
“The college don’t treat us properly just because we come under a scholarship programme,” the student said. “We are being emotionally traumatised.”
Before the students left for college last year, they were made to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the consultancy when they stayed in for a night in one of the hotels in Phuentsholing, a parent said.
“None of the parents knew about the MoU and we don’t even know what it contains,” a parent said. “Now when there is an issue, the consultancy finally informed us about the MoU and many of us were shocked.”
Parents were informed that the additional charges of Nu 42,000 falls under miscellaneous charges reflected in the MoU, which each student signed. None of the parents had a copy of the MoU.
Such actions are irresponsible and untrustworthy, the parents said. “We want to make sure that none of our children are harassed in any way right now or in the future,” one parent said.
The parents submitted a letter and a petition asking for clear-cut answers from the consultancy, to the department of adult and higher education (DAHE) with the education ministry.
DAHE’s director general, Tshewang Tandin, said following several meetings, which took about a week, parents and the consultancy firm came to a decision that the nursing course students would pay Nu 30,000 annually to the college.
“We face such issues everyday. All we can do is solve the issue and monitor the consultancy’s progress,” he said. “We also came to a conclusion that the consultancy will take responsibility if the college demands more money in future.”
DAHE officials said that if a consultancy was found to scam students, the license would be blacklisted and withdrawn. Officials inspect the consultancy’s offices once a year.
However, no licenses have been withdrawn from an education consultancy to date. There are 35 education consultancies registered with DAHE.
While the decision had been made in consultation with DAHE, some parents are still sceptical to trust the consultancy.
“There are just so many underlying issues yet to be solved and we pray that our children are safe,” a parent said.
Careerinfo Bhutan consultancy’s owner could not be reached for comments.
By Thinley Zangmo