Their term in office will be extended by another six months

Jobs: The 42 staff of the erstwhile Royal Education Council (REC) who were issued a relieve order on September 1 can now remain in office for another six months, the Prime Minister said.

“My hope is that we could extend their service by at least six months and let them work there,” Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said at the 19th meet the press session yesterday.

“Within the six months, I’d personally look for slots and place them,” Lyonchoen, who is also the REC chairperson said. “I have called a meeting soon with the officials.”

Lyonchoen said the main problem with them was that the 42 officials, who are not civil servants, wish to remain with the office while the organisation has become an autonomous agency under the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

“And there are too many of them, that’s why there was a need to relieve them,” he said. “Still then, it is not proper to terminate them right away, so we have to reconsider.”

RCSC chairperson Karma Tshiteem in an email interview said the erstwhile REC was merged with DCRD based on the Prime Minister’s executive order. Unlike the erstwhile REC, the new REC is an autonomous agency under the RCSC and the commission carried out an organisation assessment of the new REC to approve its structure and staffing.

“The RCSC can redeploy only civil servants. However, if the new REC proposes to recruit them on contract, the commission will facilitate considering their need and in line with Bhutan Civil Service Rules 2012,” the RCSC chairperson Karma Tshiteem said.

A notification from the officiating director issued on September 1 relieving the 42 staff, including 16 of the Centenary Institute of Education in Yonphula that was under the REC, from October 1 was following the resolution of the second Council meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.

The employees expressed shock and despair.

The order comes more than eight months after REC and education ministry’s curriculum and research development department (DCRD) were merged, on December 12, 2014.

After the merger, DCRD was to be delinked from the education ministry, while the employees of the erstwhile REC, most of whom quit the civil service to join the Council, were to be taken on contract. DCRD and the old REC had 40 and 27 employees respectively then.

Nothing of this sort happened except for two of the old REC’s staff joining the new REC. Officials said it now turned out that, in the name of merger, old REC is being dismissed completely, keeping only the DCRD.

The merger was to avoid overlapping and duplication of roles and functions of the two agencies.

The Royal Education Council was established through a Royal Command in August 2007 to initiate and implement education reforms across the entire spectrum covering school, technical and tertiary education.

On December 12, 2014, the government reconstituted the Council board.

Tshering Palden

Additional reporting 

by Nirmala Pokhrel