Education: Royal Thimphu College has opened a new course – BSc Environmental Management (BSc EM).

This was done to provide students in-depth on a single subject. After reviewing English-EVS and Economics-EVS course combinations, the college felt that single major degree could give students a more comprehensive knowledge on environmental studies.

Dean (Dr) Shivaraj Bhattarai said that the decision to start single major degree was based on the feedback from alumni and employers.

English-EVS and Economics-EVS had modules from both the subjects and lacked in-depth focus on both.

“BSc EM will provide exhaustive know-how on environmental issues,” said (Dr) Shivaraj Bhattarai.

Associate Professor GP Sharma said that BSc EM is an interdisciplinary course that will not only teach students theoretical know-how on the subject, but also provide essential practical sessions to built skills. “Unlike most other courses, BSc EM is a skill-based programme with more practical sessions than lectures. It’s a student-centered programme.”

The programme will include, among others, conservation biology, geographic information system, forest and wildlife management, urban ecology, natural resource policy, watershed management, impact assessment, waste and hazard management, urban environment management, basic weather and climate studies.

The programme will also covers topics on environmental ethics and values, environmental economics and social capital with guest lectures from experts from organisations like the National Environment Commission, City Corporation, WWF and Royal Society for Protection of Nature.

Weekly fieldtrips will also be organised for the students to give them hands-on experience.

Due to enrolment pressure, the college had to make space for two more candidates, which takes the number of students in the course to 42.

(Dr) Shivaraj Bhattarai said that the management couldn’t take in more students for BSc EM because course is a resource-intensive programme. Experiment kits and other required materials were planned for just about 40 students.

“We did not expect to receive large number of students for this course. We might not be able to take in anymore this year, but we’ll definitely review for the next batch,” said (Dr) Shivaraj Bhattarai.

Pema Eden, 18, who is majoring in BSc EM, said that with the ever-growing environmental issues in the country and around the globe, is what led her pursue the course. “There is ever-increasing need for comprehensive knowledge to deal with emerging environmental issues.”

Pema Eden, who had qualified to study Civil Engineering at College of Science and Technology, decided to enrol in BSc EM at RTC instead because there are already enough engineers in the country. “What we must build is expertise in the field that is affecting our ecosystems. That, I think, is more urgent than anything else.”

By Younten Tshedup