YK Poudel and Sherab Lhamo

Sixty-six Bhutanese students have been granted fully-funded scholarships under the Asian Nursing Scholarship (ANS) programme in Singapore. 

The students will undergo a 3-year full-time Nursing Diploma programme in Singapore. Upon completion of their studies, they will be guaranteed employment in one of the public healthcare institutions in Singapore for a duration of six years.

The Training and Development Division (TDD), along with the Department of National HR Development (DNHRD) and the Department of Employment and Entrepreneurship (DoEE) under the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR), are responsible for administering this prestigious scholarship.

To ensure the highest standards of performance and conduct, the terms of the scholarship state that candidates may lose their scholarship under various conditions, including being convicted of any criminal offence, engaging in professional misconduct or negligence, abandoning the course, demonstrating unsatisfactory performance, working part-time, or being unable to serve as a nurse due to medical conditions, among others.

Deputy Director of the Healthcare Manpower Division, Karman Yuen, expressed his confidence in the capabilities of Bhutanese students studying in Singapore. 

“The scholarship slots have been increased based on the excellent performances of the Bhutanese students in Singapore. The first batch consisted of 11 students, and over the years, the number of slots has expanded due to their remarkable capabilities and performance in the institutes,” he said. 

A scholarship recipient Tshering Zangmo, an 18-year-old student, expressed her excitement about the opportunity to study nursing in a foreign country. “I’m eager to acquire new knowledge and skills during her course and look forward to contributing her expertise to the healthcare sector upon completion.”

Rinchen Khandu Namgyel, another recipient of the scholarship and a graduate of Motithang Higher Secondary School, shared his enthusiasm for the opportunity that lies ahead.

“I am thrilled to have been awarded this scholarship, and I am determined to pursue my career goals in the health sector,” he said. 

He said: “The selection process was highly competitive, based on merit rankings, tests, and interviews. After completing the three-year Diploma course and fulfilling the six-year service requirement in Singapore, my aim is to bring back valuable skills to benefit our country.”

Ugyen Tshering, a parent of one of the scholarship recipients, said that the skills and knowledge gained during the course would significantly contribute to the advancement of Bhutan’s health sector. However, he said the importance of improving the standards within Bhutan’s medical system to ensure that the returning students’ expertise can be effectively utilised.

Of the 173 applicants, 80 were shortlisted for interviews. Since its inception, the ANS programme has provided scholarships to 111 Bhutanese students in three batches: 11 in 2021, 34 in 2022, and the recent group of 66 in 2023. 

In a formal ceremony at Royal Thimphu College, the scholarship recipients signed a legal undertaking in the presence of health ministry officials and sureties, stating their commitment to their education and future service in the healthcare sector.