Academic session begins this July with the MA in English programme

The Yonphula College in Trashigang will start its academic session this July with a Masters in English programme.

However, the college will not be operating as a full-fledged college but as an extended campus of the Sherubtse College in Kanglung. Acting dean of academic affairs for the Yonphula campus, Tshering Thinley, said Sherubtse College would administer and manage the campus at Yonphula for the time being.

“The campus is part of the government’s pledge for one of the three colleges in the east but as of now we are told that the campus will be under Sherubtse and not an independent college,” he said. “However, in future it might become an independent college but we are not sure when that might happen.”

The Masters programme in English will be the first of its kind that Sherubtse will provide since the institution started offering under graduation courses in 1983.

Sherubtse College’s dean of academics affairs, Tenzin Wangchuk, said it took time for the college to start a Masters programme because the main focus after introducing the bachelors programme was on diversifying the courses.

Tenzin Wangchuk said that given the rural location of the college it was challenging to bring in seasoned lecturers, which hindered in offering a Masters programme. “Now we are seriously considering to grow vertically and that is why we are starting this MA programme in our extended campus at Yonphula,” he said.

Sherubtse College today offers 13 under graduation programmes, which leaves little room for further expansion at the college. “Yonphula provides us the opportunity to grow vertically.”

In 2011, the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) decided to launch various Masters programmes in the nine colleges under its umbrella in line with its vertical growth.

Sherubtse College after conducting a needs assessment proposed three Masters programmes – MA in English, MA in Mathematics and MA in Economics – of which only the English programme was approved by the Academic Planning and Resource Committee (APRC) of RUB in 2011.

However, financial challenges delayed the MA programme, which was planned to start in 2013. English programme leader of Sherubtse College, Dr Baburaj, said that last year the education ministry came up with a plan to upgrade the qualification of existing English teachers in the country.

“The ministry suggested RUB and Sherubtse develop a programme as per the needs of school teachers and it was then decided that MA in English would start by July this year at the Yonphula campus and be under Sherubtse,” he said.

To begin with Sherubtse College will take in 30 candidates, which will be provided exclusively to schoolteachers with English backgrounds. To meet the criteria, candidates need to have a B.Ed., BA or a postgraduate diploma in English.

The college will also conduct an aptitude test for the candidates. Dr Baburaj said that the 18-month programme would cover different branches of language and literature modules including environmental, cultural, gender, new literature, modern and critical theories, Shakespeare and other creative writers.

Meanwhile, the remodelling and reconstruction works at the former Centenary Institute of Education under the Royal Education Council in Yonphula campus is ongoing.

Sprawling across 75 acres of government land, the campus has recreational facilities, office buildings and residential quarters, all of which were under-utilised after the armed forces phased out in 2011 and 2012.

About Nu 86.78 million was allotted for the remodelling of infrastructure and procurement of amenities and services for the campus.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang