Yangyel Lhaden

All first-year students selected for 2020 admission to the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) colleges will have to report to the college before August end.

The Vice-Chancellor (VC) of RUB, Nidup Dorji, said that the colleges would call new first-year students as and when the colleges are ready. For the rest, RUB would discuss whether to call them back during a meeting amongst the executives this month, he added.

VC said that it was important to orient the new first-year students with college environment.

In an earlier interview with VC, he said that new protocols of virtual learning could not be conducted with the freshers because they were transitioning from school to college life and were not aware of virtual learning environment – VLE, an online platform for the RUB students.

If the colleges carried on with online teaching it would be difficult for the new first-year students, he added.

The College of Science and Technology and the Sherubtse College have decided to call new first-year students between August 18 and 19. Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC) has asked the new students to report between August 29 and 31. Reporting date for the new students of Gyalpozhing College of Information and Technology (GCIT) is August 17.

The new requirements for students are, among others, face masks and hand sanitisers. The college presidents said that everyone would be fully briefed on health protocols along with general briefings.

JNEC and GCIT have re-called the current semester students for the sole purpose of sitting examination.

President of JNEC, Andu Dukpa (PhD), said that 60 percent of diploma syllabus was based on practical component which made it impossible for students to do online exams and there were only about 71 students pursuing degree programmes.

Andu Dukpa said that after the approval from University Strategic Response Committee, the administration decided to re-call the current students, which did not mean that they were called for next semester. “That decision would solely depend on government’s directive.”

President of GCIT, Lhato Jamba, said that the college had only 274 students and ensuring health protocols would not be a challenge. “Before the new students come to college, the old students will be sent back.”

VC (also in an earlier interview) said that if colleges could reopen by September, it could also mean having to do away with winter break. “It is a big disruption to normal times; we are looking as to how to overcome this disruption.”