Central school will give impetus to economic activity in the locality and that is happening, education minister Norbu Wangchuk said during the 31st meet the press on June 23.

Responding to a question about the low quality shoes and socks supplied by Bhutanese manufacturer to the central schools, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that raising the quality of education is one of the benefits of the central schools.

“But, what is not understood is the benefit of central schools in boosting our economy.” Lyonpo said. “It has larger benefits, such as reducing imports. Rupee remains in country. We become more self reliant.”

Lyonpo said that the issue of the shoes supplied to Trongsa Central School and socks that were off-sized will be fixed. “In fact, we have given the products with defect back to the company and they will replace them.”

Lyonpo said that the ministry buys shoes and socks in huge quantities (in thousands) and some pieces go wrong in terms of quality and size.

In Trongsa Central School, about 50 pairs shoes and socks were out of size and of the quality that the ministry did not expect, Lyonpo said. The ministry returned the products and asked the production houses to replace them.

“This is the advantage of buying from Bhutanese manufacturers. We can go to factory and we can hold them accountable,” Lyonpo said. “Earlier, we brought it from across the border and we did not know who made it and whom to ask if there was defect in the product. Parents would have to buy their own shoes when the shoes were not of good quality.”

Lyonpo acknowledged that there are problems but said that these problems were there even with the imported shoes, socks and ghos.

“Some of the imported ghos were of wrong size and the stitches were ripping apart. What do we do then? The parents re-stitch it at an extra cost because we do not know where to take it,” Lyonpo said. “We are now looking into promoting our own manufacturer of ghos.”

Lyonpo said that he is amazed at the imagination of the business ideas the central school has fired up. “We get proposal to manufacture tooth brush in the country. We never imagined made in Bhutan tooth brush.”

There is proposal for weaving and stitching ghos and kiras in the country.

Lyonpo said that people want to manufacture ghos and kiras in the country because there is market for thousands of ghos and kiras. “They want to bring in machinery from Ludhiana in India, set up here and weave and stitch our won ghos and kiras.”

This year, the government has decided that instead of imported furniture, the classrooms will have furniture manufactured in the country.

“These are the possibilities that are coming up because of the central schools,” Lyonpo said.

Dechen Tshomo