By Ugyen Dorji | 28 July 2012

There are around 4,000 Bhutanese students studying in India with most of them studying in Indian Colleges found for them by Educational consultancies. However, based on the growing number of complaints in the last few years many students going to these colleges get anything but quality education or even quality facilities.

Jigme who is a graduate from RVS College, Coimbatore Chennai says, “I went to my college through EAZ education consultancy. I was attracted to this college as it was advertised by the consultant but once I reached there I regretted a lot. Nothing was like what the consultant promised. But we paid all the fees by that time and I couldn’t do anything.”

He said the fee structure also differed among the students as the consultant had different strategies to get more students for that college.

However, EAZ is not the only one as there are a large number of other educational consultancies doing the same and are also growing in number. These consultancies usually catch the eye of gullible students and their parents through flashy advertisements making outrageous claims in the local media. 

Tandin Dorji from Dr. S.N.S Rajalakshmi College of Arts and Science said, “My consultant just dropped me till the college and did the admission formalities after that I didn’t see him. The college was not like what he said it was. We feel cheated as the consultant fooled us”.

Yeshey Dorji, who had gone to India through Ugyen P Consultancy said, “The promised things should be fulfilled but they are not keeping their promises. There should be improvements made with the Education consultancy services in Bhutan. The service provided and promised are not same”.

Acknowledging the problem Kunga Wangdi who owns an educational consultancy Career info said, “The students will complain if the services and college infrastructure promised by the consultant are not as good as promised.”

Ministry of Education officials say that over the years there are an increasing number of complaints from the parents about the standard of education their children are receiving from colleges that are affiliated to the consultancy agencies in Bhutan.

Many students that The Bhutanese talked to complained that in the initial stages when they confirm the college with the consultants, they are promised that there won’t be any increment in fees but this is not the case as fees are increased anyhow.

Students many of whom are here on their summer break allege that educationconsultancies use unethical means to get them to choose colleges which are not what they are made out to be.

A former student who studied Computer Science in B.B Pradhan Management College in Kalimpong said, “We don’t even have to study much as during exams even the question papers have all optional ticking as in, the answer is already given among other choices.”

As a result students who barely even passed or failed in their subjects in schools here in Bhutan come back with incredibly high test scores of 80 to 90% plus.

However, again the majority of College graduates who cannot make it through RCSC are these students.

According to an official from the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources many of these students are not even accepted by private companies as they may have high marks but they are not even able to master the basics.

The result is a mass of semi-educated graduates with degrees but no employable skills.

An owner of a small IT firm said, “Many of these graduates come with high level qualifications but I can’t even get them to connect the computer to the printer.”

Several parents say that the government should monitor these consultancies and their methods in sending children to any institution outside the country.

A parent of a student on the condition of anonymity said, “I think the government should do something to improve their service because we pay a huge amount for their service. If such things continue I think our children will be spoilt by landing up in poor quality colleges.

The Education Ministry is trying to take a few steps to rein in the Educational Consultancies.

As per the Ministry of Education rules education consultancy agencies now have to register and acquire a license. They are also supposed to send students to only those colleges which are accredited by renowned universities or are registered under the University Grants Commission of India. This was found necessary by the Ministry of Education.

The planning officer of the scholarship division under the education ministry, Doley Tshering said, “There were several complaints but we tell them to send their children to those colleges with whom the ministry has signed an MoU. But normally the parents go with their children’s choice and land up choosing colleges below the standards set by the National Accreditation Counsel.”

Most of the colleges the consultancies in Thimphu are linked to are in Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur and Pune. During the 2011 graduate orientation program, a  graduate from Bangalore appraised the Education Minister of the poor quality college that he was led into by one of the consultancies.

Thereafter the education ministry had conducted a few meetings and conferences with the consultancies. The management teams  of about ten consultancies showed  up and signed an agreement. One of the terms agreed upon was, the consultancies should only be deal with colleges which are graded A&B  by the National Accreditation Counsel.

According to the Jampelyang education consultancy there are reports of people running consultancy services without any proper permission from the Education ministry. These practices they say has affected the confidence that the parents have on the consultancies approved by the MoE.

The EAZ consultant declined to comment on the issue.

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