Educating doctors

On 23rd March, the Ministry of Education announced rules on the recently approved medical scholarship grants (see the rules). The rules clarified how the government will implement the grants. But we should be concerned at least on two counts.

One, on the impact on current private students. According to the rules private students currently studying in universities recognized jointly by RCSC, MOH and MOE in the SAARC region, Thailand and Cuba are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Of them 15 will be awarded the medical grant.

Obviously, every private medical student by now expects the grant. And convincing them that they may not be eligible or that their universities are not recognized will be difficult. We’ve already upset most other private students. Now, it appears, that we may upset many private medical students as well.

And two, on the impact on future students. According to the rules, medical scholarship grants will be awarded to 15 private students each year selected on the “basis of academic merit and competition”. This is good. But there is one catch: to be eligible, a student must have already secured “their own placement/admissions to medical institutions/universities deemed reputable.”

The problem is this: a student having the best possible marks (among those who couldn’t get the full government scholarships) but without the financial backing or the connections to apply for admission privately, will not be eligible for the grant. So the grant is not based solely on academic merit; it favors the rich and the well connected.

And that could also be unconstitutional. Article 9.16 of our Constitution states that “The State shall provide free education to all children of school going age up to tenth standard and ensure that technical and professional education is made generally available and that higher education is equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

But it’s not enough to say it’s unconstitutional and do nothing about the shortage of doctors. So what’s the solution? I don’t know about current private medical students – we are already in this mess.

For the future, however, the solution is quite straightforward: Just do away with the grants for future private medical students. And, instead, create additional full scholarships that will be “equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” It can’t be that difficult to create 15 more full scholarships. The government is obviously willing to make the money available. So all that’s really needed, is to convince other governments or medical universities to reserve a certain amount of admissions for our students each year.


Facebook Comments:


  1. This was exactly the point I raised a couple of weeks back on Bhutan Observer forum. It is true and is valid. It just works out to add to the existing social hegemony. And goes on to widen that very gap everybody’s talking about!

  2. Yes sir, you are right…. Afterall the policies made was for the minister themselves… the fact which of the poor or mid level parents can afford to send their children to Cuba and Thailand… forget that they find very difficult to send to the private school in Bhutan itself where the cost is reasonable than outside countris….
    So i would request the decission makers not to look at their own benefit… Donot forget your own word equity and Justice…

  3. congragulation your honourable for the new responsibility of we the PDP members……

    well,i would like to say somthing upon the governments decission on the financial grant for the pvt health students outide Bhutan…..
    so in this case, government i doing this to come up with more doctors(Bhutanese….. rie! but, what about other studens who are doing courses over differnt fields other than health(MBBS).
    in our country, we lack of specialiest not only in HEALTH but other ministries also….. you see, in MoA there are many japanse working as reaserch officers( Wengkhar,khangma and paro research centers) so, in this case there are many bhutanese sudents studying Bsc in other countries, they can be also helpful to the government same like a health student…..and also there are many enginers,pilots and architecture students)- what with this students also……
    in such decission of the new government, i feel that there is no equality and justice…. so may i know is this what the DPT government promised on the familirization tour in the year 2008……
    your honouarble may i request your kind self to oppose on this issue at ealiest.


  4. Anonymous says

    what the hell is this….DPT is RANGDEN PARTY…every rule seems to be twisted in favour of the rich and for their own party. We never expected all this from DPT especially when the party is leaad by veteran person like JYT…the second point in stated in the grant scheme for private medical students shouldnot be there….JUST BE IT BASED ON MERIT. What a funny party we have elected ya…common OL you if you are a real OL you should oppose all these. Or else we are soon going to make a march on the street…IT WILL BE A HISTORY.What kind of support do you want from us? lets do it before it is too late….or else we will make DPT KISS THEIR ASSes.i really have no words to descrite my frustration.they should try to listen to the out cry of the general masses…ANYWay lets see if we can make a change…..

  5. Anonymous says

    Leave the seeking of admission outside the country ,that too for medical seat aside…most of students from remote places find it tough to make up to the selection interview done in thimphu, pertaining to cost and host factor…so It certainly favours big and linked people than brain or poor.

  6. Anonymous says

    Why make so much fuss if they have nothing to gain for themselves???

    If there is money to spend like that, JUST increase the number of scholarships for MBBS and dentistry. A simple and straightforward and fair solution.

  7. Anonymous says

    sir… we are really proud of you for all the very sensible points you have put up here. now what i feel is that people should know who are these private students…what is actually happening is private studetns going to dakha are already recieving help from the country ,in the way that the embassy is helping them in getting concession in the college fees in terms of lakhs… that itself is a great help from the country.. even in sri lankha the private students are coming there through sarrc scholarship , which provides them with a concession in the college fees… now instead of feeling proud of what govt has done for these non deserved people.. they simply want to throw more money.. people with links, people who are aware of all such concession are already enjoying this facility.. instead of govt ruling out this corruption first and advertising these seats which involves concession, they just want to go on supporting the people who go t there in first place through corrupted means.. and yea… if the govt still sticks on this decision..ARE THEY WILLING TO TURN BACK THE TIME AND DO SOME THING FOR THOSE DESERVED LOADS WHO ARE IN KANGLUNG EVEN WITH THEIR GOOD MARKS JUST BECAUSE THERE WASNT THIS SCHEME THEN… WILL THEY BE HAPPY WHEN THEIR FELLOW MATES WHO COULDNT GET KANGLUNG GETS THE GRANT . IS THIS EQUITY AND JUSTICE? IS THIS GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS? IF THIS HAPPENS.. IN A COUNTRY LIKE BHUTAN THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THE POOR PEOPLE… GOVT WILL KEEP HELPING THE SILVER SPOONS .. NO MATTER WAT IT MIGHT COST AT THE END!

  8. Anonymous says

    We have repeatedly raised these concerns all over the forums only to be ignored by the (…)gov. Its not all “A Bold Scheme”, it is in fact The Bold Mistake. Solution actually was so simple which everybody was expressing -raise the number of MBBS scholarships!!! whats so difficult and unaffordable about that when you(gov.) are trying to waste huge chunk of money helping “elite” people???
    As clear as it is, we know only elite(well off) people could afford to send their children for medical studies, so this grant would be just a supplementary fund for buying drugs and getting spoiled. I don’t know if they’re actually helping or messing up.

  9. Anonymous says

    and one thing that is funny about this citeria is …. after paying a huge lot of money for the pvt medical studetns in future… which is like hundred times more than the stipend of some medical students who deservedly got in india.. what the govt is askin in return is a service equivalent for the duration of their course… is that a joke this how you are goin to tackle dr shortage… well.. six years is goin to be sufficient enough to get good experience by playing on the lives of people of bhutan and then when they are done with the bond ,head for abroad with a better experience in search of a better cash..
    first you are throwin money on them simply and then you dont ask for a proper reward… studetns in sri lankha have this bond of working for a duration three times the duration of their course… and given this scheme most of the govt students presently doin mbbs in sri lankha or other place could have taken up this scheme instead of this govt scholarhip.. they are people though they have earned through merit yet can afford privately and with this intereting scheme that involves more money and less work contract… its a huge blunder for the affordable lots to go on a govt scholarship when they can easy get this pvt scholarship with their high marks and just work for bout six years in bhutan and head some where to earn huge money.
    well this scheme is really misleading everyone.. i would suggest the good studetns with good marks who can afford.. to not to choose govt scolarship here after… its just matter of loanin little money.. and wen you get into a pvt college.. since you got good marks you are goin to be eligible for this scheme.. and even more.. you dont have to work in bhutan …since the govt is askin for a bond equivalent to the duration of your course.. which is a mere joke.. and then you are free to make money on your own for the rest of your life…. younger generations since the govt is not being fair…. people can act accordingly and make them repent for what they have done… students all over india and sri lanha and dakha, who are on govt scholarship are already feeling the pinch.. and these are the majority loads and deserved loads… but now they have already started imgaining the working enviroment back in bhutan… they have already started to loose interest in this double blinded ministry… its just that there is nothing called strike in bhutan but god knows we might face it in history of bhutan for the first time for the blunder the govt is doing and even more strange sticking on to it wen they know the flaws in it. the future is yet to come and the majority rules!

  10. The decision is totally biased, unethical and in the interest of the few selected DPT supporters or members. If Govt really wants to address the Doctors shortage then why cant they follow the “one in hand is worth two on the three”, meaning Govt should and could do something about keeping those Doctors we have in the system. we have heard that there are many doctors wanting to leave the system – so address this and then talk about other means. They have said the beneficiaries have to sign a bond for them to come back after their studies – but lets be practical – how many of us have paid penalities for breaking such bonds, we know many many such bonds were broken in the past and nothing happened and we know it. Besides, after five or more years who knows a new Govt might take over and they might like to support this decision. Another possibility, even if DPT gets re-elected, the PM could coolly say publicly “we have made a mistake” just like he did on the PCS. Come on how can a PM of a country just announce that they had made a mistake just like as if the mistake was as simple as buying a biscuits instead of a cake. We know how many of us were advesrly affected and more seriously though I dont know the figure, but the Govt has really spent huge money on PCS.
    Well finally I also like to congratulate the Hon’ble OPPosition Leader for his leadership in recognising the real issues.

  11. This is horrendous scheme and not correct. Just making an excuse saying that this is for addressing shortage of doctors is not true. it is
    It has an agenda behind and everyone knows it. we cannot allow this thing to happen. If the govt has said that they were increasing the no of scholoship then yes…. huge support. The corect thing to consider is there are many students who have scored above 80% and yet have not got MBBS should be considred. All these students desires to go for MBBS but they have to go for either nursing or other feilds because there are not enough slots. Therefore, please consider the more deserving than looking for private students who have the money and scored lesser thanthe deserving ones…… help us……

  12. Anonymous says


    These rule, conditions and criterion are all fakes. It is definitely not in the interest of the nation but for the vested interest of few people. Here below is my views and message to the people of Bhutan.

    Currently, who are pursuing medical course on private expenses? Obviously,
    the sons and daughters of rich persons, elite class, ministers, dashos and MPs. And children of some senior doctors who were not qualified for scholarship are doing medical course on private expenses, and these doctors were the ones who raised the issues and supported this scheme.

    Similarly, who would apply for this scheme? Obviously, the sons and daughters of rich persons, elite class, ministers, dashos, MPs and some senior doctors would apply for this scheme. The sons and daughters of the poor, ordinary and the low income bracket parents can not afford to benefit this scheme. Hence, this scheme is not the outcome of good policy, common sense, well debated decisions, sound intentions, unbiased conceptualizations and depoliticized notions. It is the outcome of deep rooted political motives, corrupt policies, biased decisions, corrupt intentions, unintended conceptualizations and tyrannies of the absolute majority ruling party.

    There are no such things in the world as ‘government assistance’ to private students for medical or any other professions in whatsoever forms. In practice, there are different categories of scholarships in the world for the best students, outstanding students, brilliant student, excellent performers in academics on the basis of competition and performance, and also for poor and orphanage students. Such as international agencies’ scholarships, foreign governments’ scholarships, national government scholarships, non-governmental organizations’ scholarships, private company’s scholarships, federal government scholarships, state governments’ scholarships and institutional scholarships, but not as government assistance to private students for medical courses or any other courses. But, not this sort.

    It is a political motive, because the duration is for the period of 10th Five Year Plan i.e. 2008-2013 which also coincide with the end of the term of current ruling party. This is really a political motive to achieve their false political promises made during the campaign trails. People are not foolish to understand these connotations. They are bent on helping the few people at the cost of whole nation. This is a government sponsored and organized corruption and the anti-corruption commission will not probe it. This is a high level collusion of the cabinet ministers with the parents of the private medical students.

    As the murderers will find 101 ways and reasons to justify for the murders and to escape from prosecution, similarly, this government, these corrupted cabinet ministers are finding 101 reasons to justify their wrong and corrupt decisions to accrue maximum benefits to those individuals who supported the party and its candidacies during the election. Look at the murder case in Dorokha that all murderers are justifying that she was a witch and an evil. As the malicious murderers will not show remorse for the murders, similarly, those corrupt politicians will not show any regrets for their wrong decisions as long as they have tactics to survive the current term and intentions to crook the next elections. Even if this case reaches to the Supreme Court, chief justice will find 101 reasons to justify the government’s decisions. Because the prime minister and the chief justice shares so many common things such as origin, ethnicity, career, medal of honor and so on, and so they are simply inseparable for any matters. So, the appointment of chief justice of Bhutan needs thorough public scrutiny for the survival of young democracy. Chief justice of Bhutan should be such person who does not share close affinities or any things in common with the prime minister of Bhutan to deliver free and fair justice. Because current prime minister of Bhutan and would-be-chief justice of Bhutan are not only from the same Dzongkhag but they share many things in common. This is evident from their views in the last kuensel issue with regard to the delay in the construction and institution of Supreme Court and judges.

    There are veteran ministers in the present government. They were responsible for making shortage of doctors in the country. They are trying to apply their past failures in the present system by exploring such shortsighted and biased policies. There was shortage of doctors in the past. There is shortage of doctors in the present and there will be shortage of doctors in the future too. The shortage of doctors will remain forever as long as the Bhutanese system is not changed. Many doctors were given administrative posts in the past and this further aggravated the acute shortage of doctors. For example, see the current medical allowance, teaching allowance etc where it has been made into different categories on the basis of number of years in service, which implies to appear as experience reward and not as medical and teaching professional allowance. This categorization of allowances will have lots of negative impact in implementation in the past.

    What guaranty is there that these pampered private students who are pursuing medical course will come back to serve in the country on the first instance? What guaranty is there that these doctors will remain as doctors forever? Since they are the sons and daughters of rich people, ministers, dashos, MPs and elite class they will not remain in the same profession and they will be soon elevated to the administrative and lucrative posts as in the past. Even the execution of agreement or bond makes no sense as it can be broken at any time, even the hardest metal can be melted down by the heat pressure and so the legal document by human pressure on whims and fancies of the authority.

    So, my message to the people of Bhutan is use your own conscience and not get swayed by the dirty politicians and regret later on. Give up pointing fingers to the government now because they will not listen to you. But knock them down in 2013 because the string is in your hand. They are deaf now, but give them good lessons in the next election. Do not cry now because they will not care for you. But you have the ‘Norbu’ with you and give it to one who deserves it and do not give it to those who ask or demand for it. Prepare now and make right decisions and right choices in the next elections. Crush them in the voting field. Crush them at the ballot box. Teach them good lessons in the voting machine next time. Vote for the next or new party in the next election. Do not repeat mistakes you have committed in 2008 election. Otherwise, the history will repeat and you will land up in the same field.

    Next time, vote for next or new party which would be your own choice. Vote for the party which makes least promises. Vote for the candidates who are experienced and capable. The new ruling government will probe into the wrong deeds of the present government, charge-sheet them in the court of law, hold them responsible, make them answerable and make them account for the cost of the wrong decisions like in other democratic countries.

    In fact, there should be serious and heavy debate in the next session of the parliament with regard to government’s grant for private medical students and institute vote of confidence by the members of the parliament. If the MPs can not corner up the government/executive or council of ministers/cabinet ministers in the next session of parliament they would be failing in their duties as the voices and representatives of the people. So MPs, would you side with the executive/cabinet ministers or the people of Bhutan? The only two opposition party members should fight this issue tooth and nail in the next session of the parliament. This will be the right stand for the members of national council to review the decisions of the government / ruling party in the interest of the nation.

  13. Anonymous says

    Firstly the decision is not right and justified. Secondly, even the rules are not fair at all. The government scholarship MBBS and BDS students are required to serve the government TWICE THE DURATION OF THE COURSE whereas these private candidates are required to serve government EQUAL TO THE DURATION OF THE COURSE.

    It is very absurd.

  14. Anonymous says

    Now we have the Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka to take Bhutanese students to study medicine, 10 students..
    SO i feel that it would now be unreasonable to give opportunities for the pvt training…

    No matter wad i m always against this decision of pvt. docs

  15. Anonymous says

    We are gonna have many richer doctors in future with their stronger family supports. But we must not forget that many ofsprings of powerful people have attitude problem. They will boast a lot and do very less taking advantages of their family positions. henceforth, I see no better medical in future.

  16. Anonymous says

    i mean medical care

  17. The whole thing is getting more and more absurd.
    The students should have the same marks as those who get scholarships. Huh. sometimes i wonder at how stupid our lawmakers imagine us to be. Why will a student who has the minimum marks for MBBS not choose a scholarship? two reasons-one, they have the infamous “ID problem.”
    two- they made the cut off, but the slots were filled by others who scored better.
    Now, generally, the second category choose other courses like BDS, nursing, agriculture, whatever. Now that there is going to be ‘scholarships’ for them, they will definitely choose medicine… the simple problem here is that instead of giving this grant, if the government just increased the number of scholarships, there would be more doctors……chosen on the basis of merit. in this case, the ones, who, like OL said, are well connected, will get the seats. Why is there this convoluted rule to increase doctors instead of the straight forward way???? Oh by the way, i dont know if the government is aware, but for students studying in AIMS in foreign quota, the min marks requirement is 65%. the money is more, but definitely not 3 laks. the government can just include the 3 lakh grants at the end of the scholarships and choose the students on the basis of merit.

  18. Anonymous says

    i would like to raise few issues on this regard:
    firstly,as it has been pointed outm those students who have well connected and well off parents will be able to find seats easily compared to a student from poor background…so naturally the balance is tilted towards the side of welathy people…wheres the drayam and dramten???
    secondly i question why the annoucement of these private grant not given sooner???as most of the eligible stds who didnt qualify by points, are now enrolled in sherubtse..they didnt get in medcine n there was no where else to go then to sherubbtse even if they had good marks. now that they are there, it is said that they dont not qualify for the grant…those who didnt join sherubtse and who are still waiting are the ones are having unqualifying marks..low marks…n these will be the students who will apply for the grants…not the ones who have good grades and are now in sherubtse…

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