The Kingdom of Bhutan, located in South Asia, four decades ago adopted “Gross National Happiness (GNH)” as the principle of nation building. It has started building a “modern nation” and has strengthened links with global networks, especially since the end of the 20th century. In this process, priority has been given to the expansion of tertiary education by establishing the Royal University of Bhutan in 2003; approving the University to admit self-finance students; and approving building a private college as an affiliated college of the University. The purpose of this article is to clarify the framework of the university admission system in Bhutan and to analyze the actual results of selection under this system in the changing social circumstances.
Bhutan has a national examination system, including examinations for classes six, eight, ten, and twelve. The examination for class twelve is now conducted by the Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment. Admission of students to the University is generally based on the results of the examination for class twelve. All programs in the colleges have their own special admission requirements on the basis of common minimum requirements set by the University. Analysis of the 2013 admission selection reveals that the male-female ratio of selected students; the ratio of new graduates from higher secondary schools to selected students; and a range of examination results vary between colleges, and that all of 48 higher secondary schools have produced many or some selected students, while the graduates from only 10 higher secondary schools have occupied over 50% of all selected students.