Students are no less confused by fresh agreement between college and consultancy

Education: Confusion among the 195 Bhutanese students studying at the Indo Asian Academy is yet to be resolved.

In an attempt to clear the confusion, a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) was drawn between Careerinfo Bhutan, a consultancy based in Thimphu, and the students on March 12 and March 13.

More than half the students signed the MoU under compulsion from the college.  Some students refused to sign the MoU and left the college.

The new MoU states that, if any of the students under the financial aid programme fails in a semester examination from the second semester, even after the evaluation results are declared, the consultancy is responsible to arrange only the tuition fees for the students.

“The condition is applicable only if the students who has 80 percent attendance per semester, and should not have any adverse reports of substance abuse and misconduct in the college,” says the MoU.

The agreement will be subjected to verification of the above facts with the college authorities, and then only, the consultancy is liable to comply with the commitments, says the MoU.

First and second semester students will continue to receive the financial aid.

To resolve the issue, head of the consultancy, Wangdi, visited the college on March 8 and held six consecutive meetings with the students.  However, students are still confused.

A 22-year old student from the college said that half the students signed the MoU under compulsion from the authority, and the rest walked out from the meeting due to frustration.

“We were threatened to sign the agreement. Or else, we were told to vacate the hostel from March 15,” he said. “How can we trust the new agreement when they failed to honour the old one? I’m sure that my decision to leave isn’t wrong, and I don’t want my parents to suffer because of the consultancy and college’s fault,” he said.

During the meeting that was held on March 11, the college authority clarified to the students that there was no sponsor called Moolex and the college paid everything till date.

The consultancy’s head also clarified that he had no objection since the scholarship was already cancelled and asked the students to talk with the college authority’s decision.

“We couldn’t even approach the college’s chairman, because he didn’t let any of the student to raise issues or concerns, and directly challenged the ones, who tried to raise their opinions, asking them to withdraw from the college,” said a student.

The students were admitted in the college through the consultancy under a three-year scholarship programme funded by the college through Moolex Indo Asian Academy munivmoney’s financial support programme.

Under the programme, the college had waived hostel and tuition fees for Bhutanese students.  The students had to pay only Nu 47,000 for a three-year degree programme, which was reflected in an undertaking letter they signed with the consultancy before joining the college.

The students were admitted in the college last July.

However, on February 20, the college issued a circular signed by the chairman asking all students admitted through the college’s financial aid programme to pay the fees in full amount.

Confusion started after that.

In an earlier interview, head of the consultancy, Wangdi, said that the issue started, following a simple misunderstanding from the college’s side.

“This is not a scam by the consultancy, and I can prove with letters from the college with approval from the education ministry to provide the financial aid programme,” Wangdi said.

By Thinley Zangmo