Until recently most of the Bhutan’s students wishing to acquire higher education had to go abroad after grade 12. Even though the government was generous with financial help to those wishing to study abroad, still many students could not pursue higher studies. Recently the kingdom established its first University with a system of ten colleges. The colleges that were previously functioning independently were brought under the umbrella of a university. The colleges are strictly controlled and must obey the prescribed academic layout. The seats in the university are limited and not all the Bhutanese students wishing to attend always get a place, so they still have to go abroad.
There is also one private college in the kingdom that inducted its first class in 2009. This college provides a nice alternative to students wishing to pursue higher studies but not wanting to go abroad. Despite being a private institute it too is carefully controlled so the standards are maintained. Foreign students may apply to these institutions provided they fulfil the required criteria.
Other than degree programs students can join a large variety of credit and non credit, short term summer or semester programs of study. For example there are programs to study Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art, culture and philosophy. Students get to observe festivals, rituals and temple worship first hand with a hand-on approach. Bhutan is the only place in the world where all these religions coexist in the same place, making it convenient to study them.
The location of Bhutan makes the ideal place to study Himalayan watersheds, forests and rural sources of revenue. Students can participate in programs offering first hand environmental studies backed with scientific research into developing sustainable solutions to the problems of the environment. Added benefit is that students also get to experience Bhutanese culture, and learn of its economics and politics from within the country. Something they can’t achieve from outside the country as it is not very open to outsiders.