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E-Newsletter- 4th Issue, March - April 2021
On the very special occasion of the Silver Jubilee of His Holiness the Je Khenpo, the student, management, and staff of the Royal University of Bhutan would like to offer our humble prayers and sincere wishes for His Holiness's Longevity and good health 

Enhancing Mental health, Counselling and Wellbeing support Project

Students of PCE learning mindfulness meditation

To promote the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the Royal University of Bhutan, a project 'Enhancing Mental Health, Counselling and Wellbeing Support for the University Students in Bhutan' was initiated. 

As a result of this project, a ‘Happiness and Wellbeing Centre’ will be established at nine constituent colleges of RUB. These centres will embody a hybrid model of contemporary theories and practices in the field of counselling, guidance and wellbeing integrated with the Bhutanese philosophy of Gross National Happiness. 


The objectives of the project are as follow:

  • Establishing a Happiness and Wellbeing Centre at the participating colleges of RUB
  • Establishing a lead Happiness and Well-being centre at Paro College of Education with an extension at Samtse College of Education.
  • Training potential counsellors and centre managers
  • Developing a Digital Platform to support Mental Health, Well-being and Counseling services.
  • Developing a training manual, a working framework for the counselling centres and an ethical code of conduct for counsellors working at the centres.
  • Equipping the centres with essential resources to support the successful implementation of activities related to education, training and research. 

The project will also generate a digital platform (and an APP) dedicated to wellbeing and happiness centres and will serve as an integrated communication space for Bhutanese professionals working in the field of career, counselling, and wellbeing. 

The Project is coordinated by Paro College of Education under the Royal University of Bhutan in partnership with three Universities from the European Union. The project partnership agreement was signed between the Royal University of Bhutan and European Universities in May 2019.

The project is co-funded by Erasmus Plus Programme and for more information, please visit the project webpage for more information and opportunities. http://www.rubstudentservice.com

Samtse College of Education conducts PhD Thesis Talk

Dr. Tashi Gyeltshen, Assistant Professor presenting his thesis The nature of academic leadership at the Colleges of Royal University of Bhutan

The College Research Committee of Samtse College of Education (SCE) has initiated ‘Thesis Talk” as a biannual research event dedicated to the Master of Education students at the College.  Thesis Talk is initiated to encourage and provide confidence to MEd students who are required to undertake a significant portion of research as part of their study. The students are expected to learn from the experiences shared by faculty on their research project /thesis expressed Dr. Ganeshman Gurung.

The first Thesis Talk was organised by the Office of the Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages engaging all M.Ed students and faculty members on 24th April. 

The first speaker, Dr. Rinchen Dorji, President of the College presented his thesis titled An Investigation of Attitudes and Experiences of Implementing Inclusive Education in Bhutan: Perspectives of Teachers, Principals, and Past Students with Visual Impairment. 

Inclusive Education is generally understood as education that embraces differences and diversity relating to disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, and social class. “While pursuing PhD back in 2015, inclusive education was quite a new subject in our country and there was hardly any literature available” shared Dr. Rinchen while talking on how to choose a topic-oriented with one’s passion. He also shared the aims and objectives of his thesis, sample interview questions, data analysis, and findings. Towards to end of the session, he specifically presented how to use in-depth data analysis tools. Dr. Rinchen Dorji completed his PhD from the University of New England, Australia in 2017.

The second speaker, Dr. Tashi Gyeltshen, Assistant Professor from the Language Department presented his thesis titled The Nature of Academic Leadership at the Colleges of Royal University of Bhutan. According to Dr Tashi, the Royal University of Bhutan being a young institution in the country has derived leadership approaches from western countries such as the USA. The findings from his study reveal that there is a shift from Autocratic leadership to more Democratic and Relational leadership with the coming of a younger generation of leaders. While sharing the significance of his study, Dr. Tashi Gyeltshen stated, “The study establishes a basis for Academic Leadership and provides future research direction besides enriching literature on Buddhist-influenced leadership.”

His presentation included the context of the study, literature review, methodology, findings, discussion, research contributions, and recommendations. Dr. Tashi Gyeltshen completed his PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, 2015.

Spring Guest Lecture series - Dr. Karma Phuntsho on the Good Teacher and Process of Writing

Top left corner, Dr. Karma Phuntsho, the guest speaker for the Spring semester guest lecture series

As part of the Guest Lecture Series for the spring semester, a webinar on 'The Good Teacher and Process of Writing' was held on 14th April 2021 at Samtse College of Education (SCE).

Dr. Karma Phuntsho, a renowned scholar in Buddhism, Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, and Bhutan, was the featured guest speaker for the series.  Dr. Karma Phuntsho expressed, Buddhism is not a religion but rather, an education and there are different references of a teacher such as Khenpo, Lama, Lopon.

Dr. Karma stated that there are three kinds of teachers in the Buddhist tradition: Buddha- a teacher with abilities to teach in multiple languages; Arhat- an enlightened being who can read the minds of the audience; Pandita- who educates oneself and uses his best judgment to measure the minds of the audience.  He emphasized that the teacher is the most important figure both from the religious as well as the educational perspectives.

Dr. Karma shared his personal and academic experiences in the field of writing. He specifically highlighted the need to share one’s draft with others for feedback and comments and expressed the importance of accepting constructive feedback positively. Dr. Karma narrated his ordeal of getting his writings rejected many times and how these rejections and failures to publish made him stronger. He advised getting the writings published by reputed publishers. “Everyone can write. Expressing in writing is the only key to be a good writer”, concluded Dr. Karma Phuntsho.

Dr.Karma Phuntsho has published several works including eight books, translations, book reviews, and articles on Buddhism, Bhutan, and Tibetan Studies. He is the founder of Loden Foundation and Shejun Agency. Loden Foundation is a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that supports education and promotes entrepreneurship amongst the young Bhutanese. Shejun Agency which is now merged with the Loden Foundation, researches, and documents the cultures of Bhutan.

 

Welcoming the M.Ed to Samtse College of Education

Samtse College of Education welcoming the MEd students

The College Management and students of Samtse College of Education welcomed the 2021 batch of MEd students on 17th March 2021. 

The student leaders organized a welcome show supported by the management which included offering khadars (scarf) by the student councillors. The event was graced by the President, faculty and students. Students from different programmes staged a variety of cultural items.

One of the coordinating councillors Miss Rupa Rai shared, "This was organized for the new MEd students to make them feel homely and enable them to interact with the students and faculty members." The event ended with a special dinner at the student dining hall.

Organic Farming at the Boys Hostel

The team Druk Diary pitch their technology-based business idea
The Value and Integrity club of Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) has initiated organic farming at the Boy’s hostel on 20th March 2021. Their main objective of this initiative is to “cultivate values through practice”. The club has been conducting different activities in order to instill positive values and to educate the community. The club has cleared approximately 15 decimals of land near the boy’s hostel to plant different varieties of vegetables and fruits, particularly ground apples.

The Club members have already formed different groups and prepared their work schedules. The club also aims to support the College mess by supplying their produce to the mess. Future plan includes upgrading its garden with fences and with continuous water supply.

 

Gedu Community Partnership volunteers to assist an elderly couple

A team from GCBS and CPC working together to fix the roof of an elderly couple
An elderly couple living above the football ground of Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) no longer have to worry about the roof leaks during the monsoon season in their makeshift hut.

The Gedu Community Partnership Center (CPC) along with her constituent clubs; the Social Service Club (SSC), the Toilet Wizard Club (TWC), and Tarayana club, and the maintenance staff of the College volunteered to help an elderly couple get their hut roofed. The work which began in February was completed on 19th March 2021.

The College donated 57 pieces of CGI sheets for roofing. The College maintenance team was also sent to assist in roofing the hut. Apart from roofing, the CPC team painted the CGI sheets and cleaned the toilet and surrounding.
The SSC agreed to support the couple’s school-going kids with financial support from the club's fund. The SSC also adopted the couple’s youngest child, a class IV student of Gedu Higher Secondary School. The act of adopting children (particularly students) is one of the main activities, which SSC takes pride in. 

The Club helps beneficiaries by providing necessary stationery items with the hope of relieving some of the financial burden of the parents.

 

Celebrating International Women's Day

Top: CST Women's Football Team play a friendly match with Phuentsholing Women's Staff Team to commemorate the International Women's Day

Bottom: Letters of Encouragement distributed to the students and women faculty of GCBS

The theme for International Women's Day, this year is, " Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme honors all women and girls who have worked tirelessly to shape a more equal future and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To recognize and celebrate women and girls on social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments, Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) and the College of Science and Technology (CST) celebrated International Women’s Day on 8th March 2021.  

Gedu College of Education

On this special day, GCBS Y-Peer members distributed letters of encouragement and motivation to all the women faculty of the College. On the night before International Women's day, GCBS Y-Peer delivered letters of encouragement and motivation to women faculty and students so that they would read that in the morning and feel special about being a woman. On the morning of 8th March, the Y-Peer members visited all the offices of the female faculty to present them with a Women’s Day Card.  Banners were hung in and around the College premises to remind women of their rights and power.

The day was celebrated with the inauguration of sanitary bins near the girl's hostels. Clubs under Community Partnership Centre (CPC) initiated the sanitary bin project to mark the importance of the day and for proper disposal of sanitary pads. All the female students were spotted wearing purple or violet clothing to support feminism and international efforts to achieve wide-scale gender parity.

Later in the evening, student leaders organized Prom Night for all the girls of the College to pay respect and empower the grace and beauty of women across. Female faculty equally enjoyed the night too. Observing such international events in educational institutes not only educates the young minds but also builds cascading characters and morality for a better humanity.

College of Science and Technology

To serve as a reminder to all women across the globe: their significance, their strength, and their presence in the world, a friendly football match was played between the CST girls’ football team and Phuentsholing women’s staff team. It was funded by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The match was won by the CST football team with a score of 4-0.

The new Bookstore Café as an educational, social, and recreational space

To foster a reading culture among students, a Bookstore Café was set up by the Inno-Preneur club of Gedu College of Business Studies on 3rd March 2021. The inauguration was attended by the President, Deans, Programme Management, Entrepreneurship Development Centre members, and others.

The café is intended to provide a cosy environment and valuable materials for students to read, an open working space to discuss, exchange, and share innovative entrepreneurial ideas, and space for students to display their products developed at the upcoming College Incubation Centre.
To sustain the growth of the café, space will be rented out to students to celebrate various occasions, hold meetings and work on group projects among others.

The bookstore Café will remain open Monday till Saturday from 10:30 am till 6:00 pm. 

Madam President along with the Deans, Programme Management, Entrepreneurship Development Centre members, and other staff representing the sector graced the inauguration Ceremony. 

Launch of Financial Literacy and FinTech Programme

Students of GCBS with the Governor displaying their artwork to commemorate the Global Money Week
Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) as the only Business College under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) aspires to provide global business education to aspiring business graduates. Hence the College in collaboration with the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) launched the Financial Literacy & FinTech Certificate Programme at the College on 24th March 2021 coinciding with the Global Money Week (GMW) which was from 22nd - 26th March 2021. The launch ceremony was graced by the Hon’ble Governor Dasho Penjore, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Dasho Nidup Dorj, the President of the College, senior officials from RMA, faculty, staff, and students from the College.

The Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages (DRIL), Mr. Samten Jamtsho, briefly shared the overview of the programme. He stated that the certificate programme would help acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to make sound financial decisions leading to financial well-being and financial resilience.

 
With an abundance of credit products available in the market like a credit card, overdraft facility on debit cards, and EMI, such financial literacy has become urgent and important. He further added that understanding debt and having basic financial knowledge would help individuals to use these products responsibly.

The College envisions molding its graduates into citizens, who have a deeper understanding of financial dynamism by continuing to impart financial literacy. The programme is offered to final-year students of BCom and BBA for a period of two months.  The programme contains three modules as Financial Literacy & Financial Inclusion, Money & Managing Personal Finance, and Financial Technology in a progressive mode. Upon successful completion of the programme, the students will be awarded a joint certificate (RMA-GCBS) on ‘Financial Literacy & FinTech’ 

The launch ceremony was graced by Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Dasho Nidup Dorj, Hon’ble Governor Dasho Penjore, The President of the College, Dr. Sonam Choiden, senior officials from RMA, faculty, staff, and students from the College.

Volunteering in the Gedu ECCD Centre

One of the scout volunteering at the Gedu ECCD

The Rover Scouts Club of Gedu College of Business Studies volunteered to help at the Early Child Care Development (ECCD) centre and will continue to help throughout the year. The purpose of this initiative is to help the centre with human resource and share their knowledge with younger minds. The club will visit the centre every Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays to engage in learning activities with the children and to ensure their hygiene at the centre. 

The objectives of the programme are:

  • Enhancing the knowledge of the children and encourage them to learn
  • Providing guidance on activities and make learning interesting for the students
  • To encourage volunteerism and build a sense of responsibility and community participation

Currently, the Gedu ECCD centre has four facilitators and around 72 children with classes starting from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm from Monday to Friday.

An initiative to help promote our National Language 

For the first time, the Dzongkha Development Club (DDC) of Gedu College of Business Studies, initiated a Dzongkha Basic Teaching Class for the non-teaching staff of the General Service Staff Level starting 9th April 2021. The initiative was taken as a measure to preserve and promote Dzongkha as a language by enhancing the language skills of the staff. Further, the college aims to encourage the use of Dzongkha on its campus.  

The DDC along with the guidance from the College Management will plan to continue to enrich the programme with additional features to the classes to attract more staff.

Gedu PEP Talk 

Gedu PEP talk programme is a platform for the students of Gedu College of Business Studies to showcase their public speaking skills while delivering various innovative ideas. The programme was initiated to build and hone public speaking skills, improve language and inspire the audience on various innovative ideas. A total of 10 participants presented their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways to an audience on 17th April 2021. 

A visit by the Hon'ble Prime Minister

Hon'ble Prime Minister visiting one of the creative learning spaces

The Hon’ble Prime Minister Lyonchen Dr. Lotey Tshering visited Paro College of Education on 5th March 2021. The Hon'ble Minister interacted with staff and students and visited creative learning spaces in the College such as the Heritage Education and Professional Development Centre, and the Inner Science Education & Research Library. The Hon'ble Minister commended the College management for undertaking innovative activities in line with His Majesty’s Royal Kasho for education reforms. The Hon'ble Minister also sought suggestions for the government from the staff regarding the education reform and also committed installation of AstroTurf in the College.

Installation of on-premise Laundromats at the Student Residence

The President of PCE inaugurates the on-premise laundromats
In order to enhance student services, the Student Affairs Team with the support of the College Management facilitated the installation of on-premise Laundromats at the Student Residence. This is a fully automated self-service laundry facility and it is one of the first such services in RUB Colleges.  The machine was installed by a budding entrepreneur Mr. Sonam Tandi Phurba in line with the principles of public-private partnership whereby space is provided by the College and the investment is made by the private entrepreneur.

Jigme Namgyel Engineering College donates Electronic Substitution Board

JNEC handing over the electronic substitution board to Dy.DEO
The Center for Appropriate Technology (CAT) under Jigme Namgyel Engineering College (JNEC) donated 10 sets of electronic substitution boards to Dy. Chief District Education Officer (Deo) of Samdrup Jongkhar for distribution among schools in the dzongkhag to facilitate sports events.

During the symbolic handing-taking ceremony held on 10th April 2021, the Dzongkhag Tshogdue Thrizin of Samdrup Jongkgar, Leki Wangchuk, handed over the boards to Dy. Chief DEO, Pema Tshering in presence of CAT members and officials from nearby schools.

The electronic substitution boards were designed, fabricated, and assembled by CAT which is a research center at JNEC. The Centre focuses on developing appropriate technologies to support communities. Since its inception, the CAT has been instrumental in providing its technical expertise for communities through active collaborations with Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI).

Capacity-building Training on Guidelines for International staff and students visiting RUB

Registrar and Department of Research and External Relations with the participants
In order to facilitate smooth international mobility to the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), a 2-day capacity building training on guidelines for International Staff and Students visiting RUB was held from 26-27th April 2021 at the Office of the Vice Chancellor. The objectives of the training were to inform and train the focal persons of the Colleges on the regulations of OVC and different agencies like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan, and Department of Immigration; Documentations for entry of international staff and students to Bhutan, including outgoing Bhutanese staff and students to other countries; and the use of Department of Immigration online platform for visa application
 
The Registrar of the University expressed that such initiatives will enhance mobility of staff and students for educational purposes in an efficient manner. Further, she expressed that facilitating such services will benefit students in terms of intercultural learning and promote the visibility of the University. 

 Yangzom, Research Officer of Gedu College of Business Studies said “The training has informed me on the regulations and processes of which, how, and why international mobility happens. I am cognizant that the University as an academic institution is entrusted to enhance collaborations with academic institutions and industries, locally and globally. Such associations act as breeding grounds for the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing. I am now equipped with the knowledge of different regulations mandated by organizations like MFA, DoI, Cabinet Secretariat, MoLHR, and others. I am also aware of the documentation processes of incoming and outgoing staff and students. I am grateful to the DRER, Registry Department of the OVC, and my management for graciously conferring me the opportunity to attend the training. I look forward to such fruitful sessions.”

Research Methodology Training for Educators in the East

The Office of the Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages, Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology (GCIT) successfully conducted a 5 day training on Research Methodology from 5th-9th April 2021 for College Faculty members and school teachers There were 12 faculty members and 29 school teachers from Mongar Dzongkhag attending the training which was resourced and facilitated by Dr. Kezang Sherab and Mr. Kinzang Lhendup, Professors of Paro College of Education. 

The training covered basic concept of research and its importance within social science; different research approaches, research design, research methodology, data collection for both qualitative and quantitative approaches, literature review, ethics in research, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, formulation of research proposals, preparation of research report and publishing and disseminating research output.

The training was concluded with an award ceremony to the participants and coordinators of the training.

 

Observing World Earth Day

Coinciding with the auspicious occasion of Zhabdrung Kuchoe, the College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) observed World Earth Day through a mass plantation of trees on 22nd April 2021.

Initiated by the Youth Volunteer in Action (YVIA) Club of the College, Rigzhung Rovers and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Club of 160 volunteers collaborated to plant 500 saplings of trees to observe the day. The event was initiated and funded by the Youth Development Fund (YDF) with the theme ‘Together, We Can Restore the Earth’, and the day was marked all over the twenty Dzongkhags.  The event took place from 9:00 AM till 1:00 PM in the presence of the President, Lungtaen Gyatso along with some staff of the College.

The President said that the main purpose of this event was to empower and educate people about the importance of the natural environment and the need to take responsibility to preserve and conserve the pristine land we live in.  He also added that by planting trees, we are assuring the efficient use of resources without causing harm to the four sources of the earth (the air, land, water, and fire).

YVIA coordinator, Pema Tenzin stated, “We realize the essence of the natural environment, such activity is necessary to ensure the continuity of natural resources to the future generations.”

 
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