RUB fees?

The RUB has accepted McKinsey’s recommendation to charge fees to their students. This year, 10% of the students entering RUB’s colleges will have to pay fees. And by 2013, 30% of them will have to do so.

Is this a good idea? What do you think?

Please share your thoughts. And please take the poll that asks “Should RUB charge fees?”


Facebook Comments:


  1. RUB should charge fees but at no times RUB should decrease or remain constant in maintaining the availability of normal scholarship slots. In other words, RUB should not be driven by commercial minds and thoughts at the cost of restricting, minimizing and hampering those normal scholarship seats.

  2. WHat is with GNH and the free health and education the Bhutanese Govt Boast off….. Who actually are those McKinsey’s Consultants.

    Till now i thought that Bhutan was run by DPT but what wait “Mckinsey’s Recommendation”….I guess the next Government will now hire some other consultants…..

  3. Yes, now it is high time that parents should start sharing the burden of educating in whatever small way we can afford. i agree with traala that no of normal scholarships should never decrease.

    While many of our rural folks will not be able to afford such fees, the urban elites can certainly afford to share the burden. Most of them are anyway sending their kids to india and RTC which is costing much more than what is proposed by RUB. It is rather safer and cheaper to keep them in Bhutan.

    Meanwhile RUB should maintain the quality and standard of education.

  4. I think charging fees beyond grade 12 level is a good idea, but what they need to do is charge a uniform fees to everyone instead of charging enormous amount to a select few. Ideal solution would be to charge 10,000 ngultrum to everyone, that way the University can get money and everyone can afford it.
    For example if you charge 70,000 to 200 , you are just getting 14 million, where as if you charge 10,000 to 1,500 students you are getting 15 million. On top of that it will help out poorer sections of our population.

  5. Utilizing McKinsey consultancy is one biggest blunder of DPT government. I feel we have enough thouthful people in our society to make corrections in the systems, if it need one. With so much of resources and time given, I am confident our own people will do a much superior job.

    My opinion is that the Opposiiton Party (OL) should take this case in a much higher priority degree than the Tax and the Tobacco cases. DPT government has siphoned out substantial financial resources across the border in employing McKinsey. McKinsey also is openly using Bhutanese Government system as a training ground of their fresh employees. Surprisingly, OL has remained silent on this issue. I tried, but could not trace the underlying reason.

    Coming to the RUB college fees, whether it is McKinsey recommendation or otherwise, it is high time we Bhutanese learn to stand on our feet. We cannot keep on leaning on to donor assistance and hope free education. Charging nominal fees for education at the college level is high time. Only thing that needs consideration by RUB authorities is increasing the slot of seats in RUB colleges. Increase in capacity of enrollment in in-country colleges and charging nominal fees will save many common Bhutanese parents availing loans for chidlrens’ education and transferring the cash outside the nation’s economic boundary.

  6. Yangchung says

    Yeah its about time the RUB charged the students and made best use of the money to improve the university and recruit better professors. This could also go a long way in making the University financially independent, and not requiring to rely on the government too much!

    But again, over charging should not be allowed! And of course, they must maintain the full scholarship scheme to those top performers from high schools.

  7. Yes, I think I support the initiative. It will at least open the doors for the private candidates to pursue higher Education within the country. However, the fees must be regionally competitive both financially and in terms of quality. This move should be looked by the university from the angle of social responsibility rather than commercialization. Presently, hard earned money of average Bhutanese is sent outside the country. People toil throughout life to educate their children and all that reward of their hard work flows out of the country. So, if RUB sees this move as a solution to extending opportunity of higher education to the people, I definitely support this move. If it’s not, even then I am sure it will have it’s own natural death.

  8. The rational behind for such move should be to give access to those students who cannot afford the soaring fees (the students who come from poor background). But if RUB starts charing fees then it is like same old wine in the new bottle for the rich. it minimizes the risk, tension and apprehension that rich had so far, for having to sent their sons/daughters in colleges outside Bhutan.

  9. I fully support Yangchung in saying there must be full scholarship provisions (at least 50-100 in every college) for excelling students to encourage hardworking in HSS across the country.

  10. The basic problem with us is that we expect to be spoon-fed.

    While basic education is a citizen’s right, higher education is a privilege, privilege for the deserving in terms of excellence. Hence, paying for your education at the tertiary level is not only to be expected, but the right thing to do! In fact this initiative by the RUB came in late…it should have been there a long time ago.

  11. Today in Bhutan, one of the highest rates of youth unemployment is between those who have completed class X and class XII. These are the group of people who are not qualified for the public schools and institutions but have passed their exams. Which, means they would have continued their studies if they were able to afford private schools and institutions.
    For most students classes X and XII are already the end of their education not because they are not willing to study but for most they have no choice. They are forced into a labor market, which is ever so competitive and challenging to find a good job. They are either unemployed or underemployed because employers are looking for qualified and experienced employees.
    Now if we charge fees for those few who are qualified to attend the public colleges to raise money and decrease the burden on the Government, I am sure almost half of the students will not be able to afford pay that fees and might be forced into the similar fate as those who were not qualified.
    Imagine, some parents are not able to pay basic expenses when sending their kids to primary school.
    I also believe that there are many ways, the Government can save money or for that matter any organization in Bhutan. First of all, I think our operational costs (variable costs) are so high.
    One example: there are ways to reducing the use of paper in our offices. If I am not mistaken many of us don’t even recycle them because the Government is paying for it. Letters and reports can be easily sent via emails but we like to print those over 200 pages report and stack them where I am not even sure anybody reads them. This is a waste. Further, those very reports need to be dropped to the offices of the relevant agencies which to me is another huge expense in terms of gas/fuel and wear and tear of the public vehicles.
    Another example, we Bhutanese love having long meetings where we have to serve lunch and refreshment. It almost seems like a right. Shorten our meetings and put a time limit and be more efficient during the meetings instead of talking personal stuff.
    I can think of many other ways ( we can try flex budgeting) we can cut down cost so that the govt. is more efficient and effective instead of the annual incremental budget.
    Charging fees to average families to send their kids to colleges will have an adverse affect and decline the quality of the human resource in the future. In any case, people who can afford private tuition send their kids to private colleges anyway, in country and abroad. Fees are after all also a form of tax!!!!

  12. btw where can i get hold of the Mckinsey report or recommendations. Not in bits and pieces but the overall report where they justify their recommendations and future plans.

  13. Yes Its a good initiative. Its high time we learn stand on our own feet.

  14. I welcome the initiative because of the following reasons:

    First, there tens and thousands of Bhutanese students who are already studying in India and the number is only going to increase in future. Therefore, we have been losing our millions of rupees to the Indian colleges and universities and this trend will not alter if we don’t have sufficient tertiary institutions in our country.

    Second, I as a parent would like to see my child grow with me and study within the country instead of sending out to a foreign country, fraught with danger of getting exposed to life threatening risk. These days, we hear lots of Bhutanese students losing their life to motor vehicle accidents and drug overdose. I am sure no parents would like their child to be befallen with such fate.

    So, yeah..I welcome RUB’s initiative from the bottom of my heart.

  15. Motor Mouth says

    RUB is also going autonomous and that means, its colleges must start making money for their own sustenance and growth.

    charging fees to the students is the best plan they can come up with because, frankly speaking, the colleges in Bhutan have never been research inclined nor have they ever provided consultative services.

    as mentioned by others, this is a welcome initiative and a legitimate means of making money but RUB also has to ensure that they have a responsibility towards the citizens of the country and their scholarship seats should not be sacrificed for the cheap money.

  16. From which group of student are they collecting fees? Private student or the ones who are selected by the government for RUB?

  17. guardian says

    It is time people started paying some fees for educating their children, as a poor country, we can’t expect to be spoon fed by the RGOB all the time.

    Ypenjor, on what grounds should the OL take the government to court in regard to the hiring of Mckinsey. And what were the thoughtful people doing until now, the reason for bringing in Mckinsey is because the so called thoughtful people you mention were not thinking properly. By the way, if you mean the highly qualified civil servants, don’t worry, their egos will get in the way of them doing anything positive. Mckinsey, after all was brought to teach our highly qualified civil servants to work more responsibly. An for that, you want the OL to take them to court, I think you are going a bit insane.

  18. Jimmy S Tensing says

    RUB is doing a right choice in privatising the making of educators. But, should we forget that each citizen’s per capita income is below the poverty level as compared to the total? Are we doing the justice in practising the much-talked GNH? There is no doubt that poor will left poorer and vice verse. Better take a second thought the Learnt Citizens!

  19. Bhutanese Boy says

    some of the Bhutanese parents can afford to pay the fees whereas almost more than 60% of Bhutanese parents mostly the farmers may face the huge difficulties in paying the fees. It may be a small amount of sum for those who can afford but a lot amount of money for poorer people. Yeah…a lot.
    Of course everyone cay say easily that we can’t keep on relying on RGoB every time but if v carefully look into present situation of economy in Bhutan, i think most people especially the rural folks have an immense difficulties in just even paying the school fees till higher secondary although collecting fees from the students can help reduce burden on Government, i think it will b a huge problem for larger section of the population of Bhutan.

  20. Sonam Gyelsthen says

    Hon’ble OL,

    before i comment on the issue i would like to know from where i should get the Mckinsey’s recommendations……

    You have put the link to one of the newspapers, however, i would love to see the main report.

    Thanks la

  21. I think it is a good initiative and good way of approach to improve the quality of education. If students start paying fees, there will be extra effort from their side to learn plus the management will get financial help in order to improve the quality of education. But, nonetheless fees shouldn’t be very high.

  22. Parangkush Subedi says

    First of all, we need to focus improving the standard of education better than existing Indian or Thai colleges/Universities systems. Than only we should think of charging fees to students. However, charging fees should be based on total income of the families. That way poorer will not face difficulties meeting financial requirements of the college/universites. This is what colleges and universites in the US do? People with low total family income pay less money to their children and people with high total family income pay more fees in the colleges and Universities.

  23. Straight drive says

    Honourable OL,
    Thank you for providing this opportunity of sharing our thought on your site.In ideal situation it is good to have free education up to degree level, but thinking about the need to stand on our own feet as a country and well as to provide quality education, it is not going to be easy. After all many parents are spending lots of money outside Bhutan for their children’s education. Taking account into all these, it maynot be a bad idea to charge from those who cannot make to the required marks. It will help to keep our money inside Bhutan as well as help RUB improve its infrastructure as well as retain quality lecturers.

  24. I am sorry but I may go off the topic here:
    the government should just remain “status Qou” for the next two years… because anything they do seems and unwanted at the moment.. so before there is more damage done than good…( like the tobacco control)..they should just enjoy the current status and let the next government do some good planning and take the country forward..
    i guess we are learning the lesson.. what we really need in our MPs is not experience alone ( having been Ministers for fifteen years don’t count if you cannot look ahead) and totally inexperienced individuals ( like some of our Hon’ble MPs) aren’t good either).. Imagine some of them would have barely found an ordinary jobs because of lack of experience.. and they are our decision makers) …
    what we need is well qualified who have experienced working in the public sector, who understand public policy with real analytical skills, who understand the principles of economics and most of all who think for the general welfare of the people. and not some people who don;t have confidence in themselves that the first they as they come to power is discuss their own pay raise because they need to save, or people who claim to visit their constituency but only does it perhaps twice a year before the national assembly and yet cannot comprehend what people need because they are either too scared, nervous or couldn’t be bothered….
    that’s why… remain status qou instead of trying to prove something and always making the wrong decisions..

  25. While appreciating the initiative taken by the RUB to make its colleges self sustaining with corporate entity from July 2011, my suggestin for fee structure stand as:

    1. Introduce slab fee structure pegged with income levels of parents
    2. Waive off fee for students coming from poor families whose monthly income is less than ???
    3. Increase the government scholarship allowances that can be paid to RUB to fund their activities and slary of its employee

    Having introduced fee for university studies, RUB should seriously think of improving caliber of its teaching staffs. RUB should also improve facilities, especially research capacities, of its colleges; This will attract more students, both from home and abroad.


  26. good initiative!!!! it is time for us to share burden. but govt need to do proper homework before implementing the idea.

  27. Instead of making the self financing students to pay the whole amount, every one must be made to share the cost of the tertiary education. I strongly feel that it is high time government come up with scholarship system.For example if Sherubtse college has 200 seats, 120 students can be given 100% scholarship and 80 student – 50% and 30% for the self financing students.By simple arithmetics the governemnt saves around 20% of the cost. Also the parents are not burdened enough. Not only this, the scholarship must not be fixed for the whole course. It can be provided based on the performance of the students in the college. The self financing students if they performed well can be given 100% scholarship the next year and 100% scholarship receiver may be made to pay 70% if they donot perform well. This may also motivate the students to perform better.
    This is just my wild experience and I have seen it works well.

  28. McKinsey’s recommendations or not, as an autonomous org RUB should/will have to charge fees, especially if it is to grow. The government can decide to provide scholarships depending on it’s need and capacity. this would be what used to be so far & hopefully the number will not decrease but increase. So, the number that gets in free will, I think, continue. Now beyond that, if RUB is to provide opportunities, it has to charge fees. So, it is providing more opportunities but with some cost; and I think that is only fair. If you don;t make the government scholarship mark, you still have the option to get in but at your own expense which is better than what exists. The good thing about charging fees is that it makes people a little more accountable – the consumers will have the right to demand the quality befitting what they pay & so the provider has to be conscious of that as opposed to the existing lax attitude. I’m also assuming that autonomy will give RUB the required room to be more creative and enterprising, and decisions as well as services will be prompt and professional. Hence, impacting on the quality it can deliver. However, this is yet to be seen because as i understand it will still have the same Council and the leadership. Old habits die very hard, especially if change is of little consequence/ benefit to you personally.

  29. Dear Guardian, thank you for noting my comments and trying to guide me. However, you have missed to read my lines carefully.

    I have never said that OL should take the government to court on the McKinsey employment case. I said, OL should have taken this McKinsey employment case in a much higher priority degree. Considering the case at a much higher priority degree does not necessarily mean taking the case to the court. When OL can afford to take the government to the Court on tax issues and support the Tobacco Act victims in appealing to high court, OL also could at least attempt to bring the McKinsey issue in the parliament to let the government justify their decision. This can happen if at all OL is concerned of general public’s economy and welfare.

    Like me, many are not understanding the added value of employment of McKinsey. I am sure, the government will have a strong justification in their decision. If the underlying justification is made public, doubts in many minds would be clarified.

    On the thoughtful lot, I did not specifically mean from the civil servants. What I meant was that if same amount of resources and time is invested, the government could form a committee collective of thoughtful people from all groups of Bhutanese societies and mandate the group to carry out the same task given to McKinsey. The job McKinsey is carrying out is in no way a Rocket Science that the Bhutanese people cannot undertake. The core importance required in this task is sincerity and integrity, nothing more.

  30. Taking the government to court is the pinnacle, so how much more priority do you want the OL to give the Mckinsey case.

    In regard to your committee of thoughtful people, that would have not been required if these same people did their jobs as you yourself mention, with sincerity and integrity. Unfortunately, that’s what’s lacking in our civil servants and the government had no choice but to hire outside consultants to point this out to us.

    I am sure you have read the BB article titled “most civil servants training grabbed by privileged few” if as you say we formed a committee of thoughtful people, that committee, true to form, would most probably have all their members traveling for seminars and training’s not relevant to their work. If you don’t believe me, the same BB report says that the GNH commission, where happiness in Bhutan is supposed to originate to have availed training’s not relevant to their officials too. That, I think sums up my argument about our civil servants not having sincerity and integrity, something which you acknowledge is crucial for our own people to do what Mckinsey is doing.

  31. How can all imagine saying that RUB should charge fees, when we ourselves were beneficiaries within and abroad.

    We haven’t felt the pinch of a high fee that’s why we don’t hesitate to recommend fees for RUB.

  32. TORISE dragon says

    first ablity rating from XII standard which made lots to draw back..and now collecting fees for those who got the value to climb higher…..whats going on with gross national happiness i guess collecting fees is much of GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT….how about those poors who got knowledge to climb to higher lavel but no capital as reconmendated…..i guess somethings wrong…..raise voice to let it not crumble down at last…..

  33. Almost Nu.70,000.00 for the 10% of 2011 students, almost Nu.90,000.00 for the 20% students in 2012 are seen little high to begin with. Concerns shared by many from the rural farmer and urban poor parents perspective stands true with such high fees.

    The fees are little high and the offered number of seats are limited. For an economic equilibrium, how about decreasing the price and increasing the volume. Will it affect the quality of education?

  34. RUB has begun its commercial activities with
    becoming autonomy soon.

    Yes RUB should charge the fees, but i find it expensive, its too high as compared to some of the universities in india.
    On the other hand i am worried of the RUB’s accreditation.(International).

    Another biggest worry is RUB might cut off the normal slots for the commercial purposes.

  35. We need to assess McKinsey consultant. Blindly following may do worse to the country. They will come and go but it is us who will remain here. I feel we are being duped.

  36. if education needs investnment from the people what about health…..i will not support govt who tries to ruin the livelihood of poor people of Bhutan.Education and health must be as free as wht it used to be for it was the gift from the monarchs of this land.long live the monarchs of Bhutan.

  37. Humble views says

    Why does the RUB charge fees from certain students only? I don’t see the logic. Are they trying to make them sustain on their own? In that case, they should charge from all. Or are they trying copy from outside universities?

  38. We have heard of the McKinsey project and we have heard of the Peoples Project. Two things with the same intent but done very differently. One with a faith in the capability of our own people and one wanting to believe in the wisdom of a well known organization but perhaps not so well known employees ( in the context of the people deputed to work on the Bhutan Project). The Peoples Project was very subtle with respect for the way things are done in our country. The McKinsey Project is bringing a commercial touch to everything. The sad part is, the increase of commercialisation is not happening in areas such as tourism, where it is really needed and wanting. Does it really require McKinsey consultants to decide on a revenue mechanism for RUB colleges through a slightly subsidized enrollment in the colleges?

    Coming to the point now, although i very much appreciate the view point that we bhutanese are getting too many things for free, i must point out that it is perhaps not right to see the financial sustainability of RUB on in its own, but it is important to see the economy in its entirety. The Nu. 14 million or so, expected to be generated as revenue is of no real value to the RGoB Coffers. This is the amount perhaps that is being spent on unnecessary travels and hospitality by the RGoB. The damage of the colleges now having capacity to take in students but only on commercial basis, has huge impacts. This MCKinsey move will ensure that the poor remain poor. I say this because, the Urban students perform better than the rural students. I know of the Scandinavian countries providing full scholarship to students upto the post graduate level. Having productive well educated citizens is now a understood minimum for any country to go forward. I rather have unemployed graduates who are perhaps capable of enterprising by themselves or are at least civil and will not be swayed by bad ideologies. I really wish for more number of colleges in Bhutan, i really wish for more scholarship mechanisms being put in place to ensure that socially disadvantaged students are taken care of, i really wish for a GNH/ Bhutanese touch to the many recommendations being made by the so called experts of MCKinsey.

  39. Sir,

    i believe that all “free” public goods and services must be levied a fee – however nominal it may be – to dis-incentivize and slowly dissipate the Bhutanese mindset of entitlements and taking for granted what is paid dearly from public coffers. however, any levy of fees must be constructed pragmatically – i.e. we must take into consideration that administration of fees is costly too; therefore the nominal fee must be enough to offset its own administration and hopefully a small part of other budget item heads. Also, the fee must be levied and distributed in an equitable and – as much as possible – in a portion that the payers are not pinched unreasonably, particularly those that are disadvantaged. therefore, here too i suggest that such a fee must be studied in the context of the ability of disadvantaged people from rural areas to pay, and also in a sum-total context of the total “nominal fees” charged by all public institutions. these add up to quite a bit in the end. i think that ultimately, the positive externalities generated by such a practice will continue to bear fruits and kudos for the Bhutanese society as a whole.

Leave a Reply to YPenjor Cancel reply