ILCS: At this time of the year, Trongsa remains covered in thick fog. And the hilltop in Taktse, where the Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) sits, is wet. Nineteen-year-old Sonam, a first year student of Bhutan and Himalayan Studies, is sad so. It is not just the weather that dampens her spirit here. Hostel is a problem too.

Sonam said that college life in ILCS is no better than being in a high school. Six students have to share a room in the hostel.

“I thought college life would be by far better. Here, however, we have to put up in very congested rooms,” said Sonam. “When there are many students in one room, studying becomes difficult, not to mention other problems that occur every now and then.”

Tshering, another first year student, said that some comfort could be had if the number of students in a single room is reduced to about three. “Hostel situation here is bad. It’s like we are in high school. When there are more people in a room, fights and misunderstandings occur. It’s very suffocating.”

The institute currently has eight hostel blocks that is ideal for 400 students. There are 1,0000 students, out of which 800 are boarders.

The institute’s director, Lungtaen Gyatso, said the institute was built from scratch and needs additional facilities.
And he added: “Since the community surrounding the institute has no buildings to help ease institute’s housing needs, fund support from Government of India (GoI) is the only solution.”

Three additional hostels will be built to solve the problem of congestion. But for students like Sonam and Tshering, it will be a long time coming. They’ll be at the tail end of their academic life in the institute when the hostels are ready by April 2017.

But a start has been made in earnest already. GoI has committed a budget of Nu 125 million. Counsellor Nina Tshering La of Indian Embassy attended the groundbreaking ceremony on August 8.

Contributed by Dechen Tshering,
lecturer, ILCS