Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay officially inaugurated the Yonphula Centenary College in Kanglung yesterday.

He said that four colleges have been established in the east in two years, Jigme Namgyel Engineering College in Dewathang, Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology in Mongar, College of Rigney in Trashiyangtse and Yonphula Centenary College in Trashigang.

Lyonchhen said that the colleges would contribute to the human resource development in the country.

Education minister Norbu Wangchuk said that until a master plan is developed for the college to function as a separate institution, it would be managed by Sherubtse college as an interim measure. The president of Sherubtse College will also function as the president of the new college.

He, however, emphasized that the college will function as a full-fledged institution. “We have several existing infrastructures at the campus but we still require additional structures to be put in place.”

Meanwhile, the college has 32 teachers pursuing masters in English programme since July this year.

The education minister said that the college would provide other courses in future but one primary course will be masters for in-service teachers. “This is in accordance with the education ministry’s plan to provide masters degree to all the teachers.”

He said that some four to five years down the line, there will be masters programme in eight different subjects at the college. “The college would grow to accommodate some 600 students over the first phase.”

All the infrastructure work is expected to begin in the 12th Plan.

Sherubtse College’s president, Tshering Wangdi, who is also Yonphula Centenary College president, said that since Sherubtse College, as an established institution has the manpower and qualified people who are capable to develop and offer masters programme. “Since the two colleges are located just 10 minutes drive away, Sherubtse is in a good position to handle and run the programmes.”

He said that the idea to have a common management for the two colleges for the interim measure would be a win-win situation for the two institutions. “For now Sherubtse is just providing undergraduates programme but Sherubtse has an aspiration to offer masters programmes as well. Yonphula College will give us a platform to facilitate and offer masters programme and at Sherubtse we can always focus in undergraduates programme.”

The president said that since the number of students is fewer at the new college, the need for a separate management is not imperative at the moment. “Over the next few years when the number of students increases, then the need for a separate management would arise. For now, the 11 of us are enough to handle 32 students.”

He, however, said that challenges lie in getting qualified and full-time faculty at the college. Currently, there are only three faculty members at the new college.

Meanwhile, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay and Kanokpan Lao-Araya, Country Director, Bhutan Resident Mission with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) inaugurated the domestic airport at Yonphula.

The 1.465km domestic airport was constructed at a cost of Nu 209 million with support from ADB.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang