The plan to start a new college in Zhemgang is still being assessed, as there were no plans or policies regarding the new college, according to education minister Jai Bir Rai.

The minister was responding to a question from Panbang’s Member of Parliament (MP) Dorji Wangdi who questioned the government on the plans about establishing a college in Zhemgang.

The MP said people in Zhemgang are waiting for the government to establish a college in the dzongkhag.

He said the Zhemgang dzongkhag tshogdu deliberated on it and decided that a college would be established in the 12th Plan.  “It was then forwarded to the Parliament where it was debated and discussed at length.”

Dorji Wangdi said that after the discussion, a resolution was passed that the education ministry and the dzongkhag tshogdu could decide whether the Zhemgang Central School would be upgraded to a college or whether it would be established at another place.

“Right after the parliament’s decision, the then education minister visited the Central School in Zhemgang and met with the representatives of the dzongkhag tshogdu,” he said. “The only thing that was not decided was the location of the college.”

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that the government bought the Prince Namgyel Wangchuck Academy at Tamala but has not decided whether the school would be upgraded to a technical and vocational training college in the future or maintained as a school. “We haven’t been able to discuss with related agencies at the moment.”

Dorji Wangdi requested the government to uphold the decision of establishing a college in Zhemgang by the former MPs.

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that the ministry had assessed the possibility of establishing a college in Zhemgang. “According to experts, there is no feasibility. There is no infrastructure. Currently, there are problems of institutions not having enough students and learners. If we establish a college, it would escalate the problem.”

He said that discussions would be held. “If college is needed, it would be based on the population and on the kind of college needed.”

Opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said that education was one of the important sectors and that policymakers could not afford to make errors, as it would impact generations. “The government of the day agreed with the decision, if it is not implemented, all other discussions would be in vain.”

He said that thousands of Bhutanese students study abroad. “It would not only improve our economy but also help people with humble background.”

He requested the government to look into it and update in the next Parliament session.

Rinchen Zangmo