College of Rigney in Trashiyangtse has received directive to shut down by the Labour Ministry, barely five months after opening.
On February 14, the Labour Ministry wrote to the principal of Zorig Chusum Institute stating that the Ministry would no longer pursue the operations of the College of Rigney at the Institute of Zorig Chusum in Trashiyangtse (IZC), Kuensel reports.
Norbu Wangchuk, Director of the Department of Technical Education signed the letter.
Instead, the Ministry would work towards establishing the institute as a College of Zorig Chusum in the 12th Plan.
12 students of the first batch, currently undergoing zorig programme at the College of Rigney are also asked to be handed over to Taktse College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) in Trongsa to pursue Rigney courses starting in August this year.
In the Labour Ministry’s letter to the Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), dated January 2, it has sought admission of the 12 students to the CLCS.
In the letter, the ministry stated that while presenting the operational plan of the College of Rigney, the RCSC informed that the establishment of the college does not fall under the mandate of the Labour Ministry, and thereby expressed its inability to provide support in terms of human resources to run the programme.
“The first batch of 12 students, who are currently undergoing one year zorig chusum programme at the institute of zorig chusum will complete the course in July, 2018,” stated the letter. “The new arrangement would necessitate sending the 12 students to Taktse College to pursue their higher studies.”
College of Rigney was inaugurated on August 26 as a part of the government’s pledge to establish three new colleges in the east.
12 students were admitted 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 Bachelors of language and literature (BLL).
However, given the management and administrative difficulties the College of Rigney was not able to establish the BLL course at the college, thus, requiring the students to leave for Taktse.
The principal of IZC, who is also the Principal of College of Rigney, Kinley Penjor, said that the institute tried to upgrade into a college of zorig chusum instead of College of Rigney.
“It would have been ideal if the institute was upgraded to a college of zorig chusum because students from the same institute could continue their theoretical studies in Rigney at the college,” said Kinley Penjor.
However, he said that the RUB was reluctant to establish the college of zorig chusum because it would require additional time to develop a new curriculum. Labour ministry went ahead and established a College of Rigney.
The long-term objective was to slowly phase out the institute of zorig chusum with the establishment of the Rigney College.
The college is currently functioning alongside the IZC sharing infrastructure, human resources and other resources. Save for a few remodeling and maintenance works on the existing buildings, no new infrastructure has been developed for the new college.
Kinley Penjor said two staff quarters were vacated to accommodate the students for use as a hostel and a classroom.
Of the 12 students, 11 have decided to go to Taktse. One of them, Sangay Dorji, said that the news to leave for Taktse came as a shock to them.
“We came here expecting a new college as conveyed to us by the RUB officials. However, it was a different story when we arrived here,” said the 21-year-old. “There was nothing new to this new college.”
Another student Phurba who have decided to stay back and continue with the zorig programme said that it was a sensible decision to take. “With the growing unemployment rates among the degree holders, a skill such as this would equip me to make a living.”