Education: Royal Institute of Management (RIM) has plans to offer independent masters courses on joint certification with University of Canberra. That to happen, however, will take about four years.

RIM today offers four courses at master level: Masters in Management (MM), Masters in Business Management (MBA), Masters in Public Administration (MPA), and the Masters in Business Administration. Each course has 16 units.

The institute last year took over instruction and management of 13 units of three masters courses conducted jointly with the University of Canberra, Australia.

RIM’s director general, Karma Tshering, said that getting qualified lecturers to teach has been a major challenge. Nine teaching staff resigned in the past 10 years.

“At the moment, in some areas students pursuing masters degree are taught by those who hold masters degree. We want to replace them with PhD holders,” he said.

Professors from University of Canberra teach most units of the joint programmes.

The institute has only one lecturer with PhD, and another two are yet to receive their doctorate certificates. It has sought government budget for two candidates to pursue PhD in the 11th Plan. Two lecturers will leave for Australia to pursue PhD soon on Australian funding.

Australia’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Patrick Suckling, handed over the cheque worth AUD 476,000 to the RIM’s board chairman and labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo on Sunday.

“This funding brings RIM closer to managing all masters (MA) courses it offers,” Karma Tshering said.

Ambassador Suckling said: “The funding is part of our long-term commitment to support Bhutan achieve its human resource development goals. Our contribution will assist in building the capability of the institute to effectively continue delivering its masters courses at internationally recognised standards.”

The new funding brings Australia’s total support to RIM to more than AUD 2.5 million since 2005.

“We hope that with more PhD faculty here, we can give more accreditation to people studying here,” the ambassador said.

There are 10 Australian students studying in Bhutan currently.

Addressing the 19th Convocation of RIM graduates yesterday, the Chancellor of University of Canberra (UC), Dr Tom Calma, said that more students would come to study in next year.

“We’re also going to bring our students from Mongolia and Myanmar to study the joint programmes here,” the Chancellor said.

UC charges less than half the tuition fee for the masters students from RIM. Karma Tshering said of that the Australian Government pays half and the Bhutanese Government bears the other half for civil servants, which works out to about Nu 0.253 million to study a masters degree in the joint programme.

RIM taking over the courses in the near future has huge cost benefits for students.

“We’re planning to go for joint certification, which is going to save us a lot because students needn’t go out for MA courses,” said RIM’s director general. “The cost of a student studying the courses now can actually support six if they take courses here. It also means those in the private and corporate sectors can pursue higher studies at home.”

The courses offered, he said, are relevant to Bhutan, and according to the need of the market, more specialisation will be added.

RIM and UC renewed the Deed of Variation for masters programme until June 2017 in January this year. The first deed was signed in June 2011.

RIM has also plans to introduce PhD courses in the near future.

A total of 252 graduates, including those in postgraduate and diploma courses, attended the convocation ceremonry yesterday.

Tshering Palden