College to launch new course

The BSc programme in environmental management will begin in August this year

RTC: The Royal Thimphu College (RTC) is introducing a new programme, bachelor of science in environmental management (BSc EM), starting August this year.

This will be the first new course the college is offering after it started with bachelor of computer application (BCA) in 2009.  Two RTC professors, GP Sharma and Samir Patel, proposed the course.

Prof Samir Patel said the new programme would have an interdisciplinary approach to provide theoretical knowledge, along with practical skills, to students on environmental issues.  It is expected to build foundation on natural and social sciences, economics and humanities, as well as business and policy, with environmentally-focused coursework. “We won’t be producing lab scientists; the programme is more of a field-based course,” Prof Patel said.

The programme will include areas on conservation biology, GIS, forest and wildlife management, urban ecology, natural resource policy, watershed management, impact assessment, waste and hazard management, urban environment management, basic weather and climate studies, and other areas related to natural resources management.  The programme also covers topics such as environmental ethics and values, environmental economics, and the importance of social capital.

Prof Samir Patel said graduates could also consider the course to be an appropriate grounding for higher studies (master’s degrees) in fields such as environmental management, sustainable development, or natural resources management.  Graduates can also pursue a school teaching career in environmental studies.

The previous course, bachelor of arts in environmental studies with English or Economics combination (BA English/Economics with Environmental Studies) was reviewed.  After consultation with students, parents and concerned stakeholders, the management decided majors in environmental studies was required.  Prof Samir said. “The programme has been proposed to provide an in-depth knowledge on environmental issues,” he said.

However, officials said that the college would continue offering the BA English/Economics with environmental studies programme.

Director Tenzing Yonten said this was the college’s third major innovation with courses they provided to students.  The other two were introduction of BCA programme and the continuous education programme. “We’re continuously working on providing new programmes to meet the need of the development of the country,” he said.

The new programme will take in around 40 students every year, irrespective of the stream they studied in their secondary education.  For the non-science students, who are willing to study the programme, the college will provide a brief-course on basic biology or mathematics for three weeks.

By Younten Tshedup

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