PM assures full operation of four colleges in east in the 12th Plan

The issue of the closure of college of Rigney in Trashiyantse is a fiasco of ill-conceived plan and populist pledge, according to the press release issued by the Opposition Party.

“It is a clear case of the failure of the government to fulfill the pledge of establishing three colleges in the East,” it stated.

The press release also stated that the government’s tenure could best be summed up as a period of ‘trial and error governance’. The Opposition Party has alleged that the government never had clear vision, goals, aspirations or strategies for governance.

Party claimed that, in the process, huge public resources have been wasted without any tangible long-term benefits to the nation.

“Can we afford to have a government that experiments with governance and wastes precious public resources in experimenting on ill-conceived ideas?” the party asked in it’s press release.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that while the intention was to start a college of Zorig Chusum, focus was more on rigney. “It is not a closure.” He said currently Zorig institutes produce craftsmen and that by upgrading it to a college the country would produce artists.

On February 14, the labour ministry wrote to the principal of the Zorig Chusum Institute stating that the ministry would no longer pursue the operationalisation of the College of Rigney at the Institute of Zorig Chusum in Trashiyangtse (IZC). The ministry said that instead work towards upgrading the institute as a College of Zorig Chusum will be pursued in the 12th Plan.

The first batch of 12 students, who are currently undergoing zorig programme at the College of Rigney were asked to be handed over to Taktse College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) in Trongsa to pursue Rigney courses beginning August this year.

Students are supposed to pursue a four-year course, one year of intensive zorig chusum skill programme in painting, woodcarving and sculpture, followed by three-year degree programme in Bachelor of Language and Literature (BLL), which is one of the courses offered at CLCS.

Because of management and administrative difficulties, the College of Rigney was not able to start the BLL course.

Later, on March 21, the labour ministry issued a clarification stating that the government had decided to rename the college as college of Zorig Chusum.

It was clarified that the term ‘rigney’ is understood to be more holistic that encompass all rigney trade, including zorig and thus the name.

“However, the intention of the ministry right from the time of its conception, and in keeping with its core mandate, has always been to establish a vocational college that focuses on providing higher level courses aligned to the Zorig field,” the ministry said.

There is also confusion over whether labour ministry has the authority to establish a college.

The Opposition Party said that this is not the only case. The other two colleges initiated by the government in Yonphula and Gyalposhing are also faring no better as the colleges are mired in a host of confusions and problems from policy clarity issues to curriculum, human resource, finance, infrastructure, administrative and management problems.

Prime Minister, however, said that in the 12th Plan all four colleges in the east, including Jigme Namgyel Engineering College in Dewathang, would be fully operational. As for the college in Yonphula, he said the best and most cost efficient way at the initial stage was to have common management and resources with that of Sherubtse. Gyalpoishing College, he said, was doing fine. Even sherubtse was updgraded from a high school with limited infrastructure, Lyonchhen said.

College of Rigney was inaugurated on August 26 as a part of the government’s pledge to establish three new colleges in the east.

Tshering Dorji