Trashiyangtse College of Zorig Chusum (TCZC) introduced a national diploma programme in Jimzo (sculpture) yesterday, signaling the first major change at the institute since it was renamed into a college earlier this year.

The two-year diploma course is a formal programme recognised under the Bhutan Vocational Qualification Framework (BVQF).

A total of 11 students – eight from the National Institute of Zorig Chusum in Thimphu and remaining three from the erstwhile Trashiyangtse Institute of Zorig Chusum will undertake the programme.

There is one instructor for the national diploma programme in Jimzo.

The students should have completed the National Certificate (NC) level III in Jimzo and also hold a class X pass certificate to pursue the course at the college.

TCZC started offering NC level II courses beginning this year to facilitate students who would require the level III certificate to undertake the national diploma course in the future. The college provides NC level II courses in gold and silver smiting, tailoring, embroidery, sculpture and woodturning.

The NC level II course is a one-year programme following which students would qualify for the NC level III course, which is for 18 months.

According to a press release from the labour ministry, the objective of introducing the national diploma in zorig chusum is to promote the country’s unique traditional arts and crafts.

“It is expected that offering a higher level of course in Zorig Chusum trade will ultimately lead to creation of critical pool of Bhutanese professionals who will be champion in propagating the promotion, revival and sustainability of the important traditional arts and crafts, some of which are on the verge of dying,” the press release states.

However, no new infrastructures have been constructed since the institute was renamed into a college.

The principal of the college, Kinley Penjor, said that currently the single teacher should be able to handle the classes without much difficulty. For technical courses, he said that the teacher to student ratio is 1:12.

“We had proposed for a college of zorig chusum and start with diploma courses,” said the principal. “Although there are no additional facilities put in place currently, we are more comfortable now as we can see several opportunities for our students.”

Kinley Penjor said that with a nationally recognised diploma, a smooth career ladder has been provided to the graduates of the institute. “With the diploma our graduates can compete for the civil service besides exploring other avenues once they complete the course.”

The labour ministry’s press release also stated that TCZC would be operated as a vocational college under the ministry focusing on offering national diploma level course in zorig chusum trades. “Besides Jimzo, the ministry plans to introduce national diploma courses in Lhadi, Patra, Trezo and Tshemdu in the 12th Plan.”

It also states that the ministry plans to work towards introducing degree courses in the zorig field.”

Meanwhile, the then Trashiyangtse Institute of Zorig Chusum was converted into College of Rigney last year as a part of the PDP government’s pledge to establish three colleges in the east.

However, following directives from the government, the institute was renamed as the College of Zorig Chusum earlier this year replacing the erstwhile College of Rigney.

Younten Tshedup | Trashiyangtse