… this includes the current 15% allowance 

Yangchen C Rinzin 

The government has approved an increase of 45 percent non-teaching allowance and benefits for the heads in the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB).

The allowance and benefits are only for vice-chancellors, presidents of 11 colleges and directors under the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC).

As per the notification from the OCV dated February 1, the government has approved 45 percent of non-teaching allowance including 15 percent allowance already being paid. The allowance is in addition to the existing 30 percent contract allowance. This means they would be entitled to 75 percent allowance altogether.

The government has also approved benefits like duty cars for presidents to be replaced with engine capacity not exceeding 2,500cc or electric vehicle, and also refurbish the residences of the presidents.

Since the payment of allowance was effective from July 1 2020, arrears would be also paid accordingly.

“The financial implication of these provisions would be met from the RUB’s own resources,” the notification stated.

However, many of the non-teaching staff in different colleges felt it was unfair as they were not considered for the raise.

“We’re not sure when did the discussion take place but we feel it’s not fair that OVC raised only for executive level,” a non-teaching staff from Paro said.

“When incentive was increased for teaching staff, ours was not increased, which we understand, but now we’re not considered in the non-teaching staff too. Then which category do we fall?” the official said.

All non-teaching staff today receive an allowance of 15 percent irrespective of qualification and position.

Vice Chancellor Nidup Dorji said that although it is categorised as a non-teaching allowance, the allowance is not for the non-teaching staff.

The Vice Chancellor said that it was important to first understand the context. He explained that earlier everyone used to receive 15 percent allowance as university allowance but it was later withdrawn due to some issues.

Then it was converted to teaching allowance for teaching staff, based on the teaching experience with the maximum allowance of 75 percent, and non-teaching allowance where staff receive 15 percent allowance.

“After withdrawing the allowance, many presidents voiced that senior lecturers were getting higher than the president and many expressed they would prefer to return to teaching,” vice chancellor said. “With the president as an important leader in the colleges, the increase in the allowance was to incentivise.”

The OVC submitted the proposal to increase the allowance for the executives based on the justification provided, and the government approved it.

“We had proposed for the increase so that we can level off with the senior lecturer’s teaching allowance. If we look into it, it is just an allowance that was withdrawn earlier,” the vice chancellor said.

The Vice Chancellor further explained that some director fulfils the criteria of teaching and could return to teaching as a lecturer if they want. So to maintain parity, the OVC had requested for 30 percent more on the already existing 15 percent allowance.

“Presidents can teach if they want but because we need them devoted to the administration they do not receive teaching allowance. But if they want they can teach voluntarily.”

The Vice Chancellor stressed that they are not getting anything more and the allowance is just a repackaging of allowance that was withdrawn earlier.

“It is only because it is categorised as non-teaching allowance, which it was earlier called as university allowance. Otherwise, other non-teaching staff in the RUB get 15 percent allowance, which is more than other organisations.”