Much to the relief of students and school authorities, the class XII results are now out.  With the controversy surrounding the leaked English II paper, there was unease and uncertainties, but surprisingly, the final results have something to cheer about.

It is, according to officials, the best results in a long time, with an overall higher pass percentage.  Six of the 10 examination toppers were girls, and pass percentage is higher in the science stream, which is considered to be a difficult subject for Bhutanese.  The toppers are both from private and government schools.

About 89 percent of those, who appeared the examination, have got through it.  While those who have done well are rejoicing for crossing the first hurdle towards their dream, a lot will face reality, as vacancies in colleges and training institutes are announced.  This is a crucial time for the thousands of students.  Many will see their academic dreams come to an abrupt end, when the selection process starts.

Waiting for the ministry to announce the number of seats in colleges and institutions is a nervy moment for students.  The DAHE department had announced 206 professional and non-professional scholarships, both in the country and outside.  The colleges and government training institutes will take in a couple of thousands.  This means that, from the 10,800 or so students, who sat for the examinations, more than half will have to look for jobs or fund their own studies.

With rapid growth of student population, the issue is getting more complex each year.  This is evident from the thousands of those, who have graduated from universities and are still looking for jobs.  From recent experience, the technical institutes, like the teacher training and natural resource colleges, will take in fewer students, as jobs cannot be guaranteed now.

While it may be painting a grim situation, this is the reality.  It is unrealistic to expect everyone to be happy.  When more than 10,000 students finish higher secondary schools, at least half are likely to be unhappy.

But what students should remember is life does not end with class X or class XII board common examinations.  There are options and everybody need not move on to universities and compete for even fewer white-collar jobs.  As students compete for the limited opening in universities, they will realise that the government cannot create jobs for each one of them.

Children have to learn that it is not realistic to demand that the government create job opportunities for them.  They have to explore options, and the government too will have to look for alternatives.  Vocational institutes, although started a long time ago, could not attract those, who cannot afford to pursue higher studies.  The reality is that we have shortage of people in this area, and our students are not really keen to take up vocational professions.

We are feeling that a good skill is worth more than a university degree.  But we are not able to convince the young minds, both with quality of programmes and recognition, after they graduate.