Sherubtse College turned 50 on May 26.

The president of the college, Tshering Wangdi, said that this day 50 years ago, through the vision of third Druk Gyalpo, the destiny of a public school was written and named Sherubtse, the peak of learning.

“It was to be a destination for many youth to journey- a journey to be taken by some 10,008 alumni in search of knowledge, a journey of transformation.”

In 1968, the college started as a public school, the first-ever English medium public school. Eight years later Sherubtse was upgraded into a junior college (higher secondary school) and in 1983 started offering bachelors’ courses in affiliation with Delhi University.

In 2003, Sherubtse became a constituent of the Royal University of Bhutan and today with over 1,700 students, is one of the oldest and the biggest liberal arts college in the country.

A former student who went on to become the vice principal of the institute, Lhatu Jamba, said Sherubtse was associated with more of enjoyment than academics during his college days. “Life at schools were so much regulated that once we got into college, we started exploring the freedom that many times led us into trouble,”

Lhatu Jamba, who is now the president of the Gyalposhing College of IT, said Sherubtse has evolved with the changing needs of the students, government and the country. “The facilities at the college is comparable to any south Asian college today,” he said.  “Now the focus has to be on academic excellence to help equip students for the job market.”

Tshering Wangdi said that when the college joined the RUB, there was a shift in the teaching-learning practices, which required students to be more proactive.

He said the college is investing more in a virtual learning environment, which has improved interactions between students and teachers. “With the help of technology, the teaching and learning, sharing of ideas and knowledge, consultation, we have become much closer now than it used to be in the past.”

Some 10,008 students have graduated from the college over the last 50 years.

“In terms of prestige, I think it was a matter of how we look at it. I would personally believe that we still have that stamina and prestige that we once had,” said the president. “One important thing as to why people look up to Sherubtse college is the essence of value and trust.”

He said about 47 percent of people who got through the Royal Civil Service Examinations (RCSE) last year were Sherubtseans.

The president said that almost 90 percent of people who went into teaching were also Sherubtseans. “There were other graduates appearing the examinations but our students have been doing wonderful which is why Sherubtseans are dominating the market and employers still look up to our students.”

He said that of the 19 seats available for Bhutanese for direct masters programme at the South Asian university recently, 17 were Sherubtse students.

It was learnt that Thimphu Techpark has also started organising campus recruitment at the college.

Meanwhile, besides the alumni from Trashigang and nearby places, the celebration saw four former faculties from India take part in the celebrations.

Sanjay Mense, who joined the college in 1985 as a lecturer in the zoology department said that returning to Sherubtse was like a homecoming for him. The professor left the college in 2014.

“Today I can see a lot of infrastructure developments. Several labs, which have been a requirement for many years has started to take shape,” said the 58-year-old. “Of the many changes I have observed, the best one is in the learning system. From a teacher-oriented system then, it has now changed to student-centred learning system which is a positive change.”

Younten Tshedup | Kanglung