With the Bhutan Education City (BEC) board now in place, the government’s effort to establish Bhutan as an International Education hub is an inch closer and a step forward.
The 13-member board comprises government secretaries of the education ministry, economic affairs, finance, GNHC, home ministry and labor ministry under the chairmanship of the works and human settlement minister. The board also includes Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, Thimphu Dzongda, Mewang and Dogar Gups, Chief Executive Officer of DHI INFRA and Education City Secretariat with one private sector representative.
The current board members including the Chairman served the project right from the beginning in their capacity as Empowered group. “They had been providing policy guidance and regulatory issue,” stated the press release.
The launch of board yesterday, according to the press release is an achievement of a major milestone.
The BEC Board was launched in compliance with the Bhutan Education City Act 2012, which was passed by both National Assembly and National Council on 16 January and 22 July respectively this year, laying out legal framework on which BEC shall be established. The act also was granted the Royal Assent on 3 September this year.
Having the board formed, DHI INFRA, a subsidiary of Druk Holding and Investment (DHI), which managed the initial works for the project sees it end of chapter for the project. The transition included DHI handing over the project to the statutory body, which will manage the project as per their roles, responsibilities and powers as defined in the BEC Act 2012.
However, the press release stated that DHI will continue to handhold the project for a period of six months. During the transition period, the BEC Secretariat will be set up with recruitment of a Chief Executive Officer. The DHI will also sign a concession agreement. “These are all in compliance with the BEC Act,” stated the press release.
In early 2010, DHI under the direction of the Royal Government of Bhutan initiated the project with the establishment of Project Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG was formed to provide strategic direction and guidance to the project implementation.
DHI under the direction of PAG engaged with an international consultant to do prefeasibility study after which the RFP was floated. “The response was lukewarm,” stated the press release.
Works and human settlement minister Yeshey Zimba said that the project was allotted to Infinity and ILFS which are selected with transparency and would be model to other Public Private Project Partnership.
“We came across people criticizing and doubting upon government regarding the project,” Lyonpo Zimba said. According to him it is disheartening to know when the government is trying to build quality education in the country.
Lyonpo also said that the project once operational would build quality education in the country and it would also allow other students from different countries to study in Bhutan.
In the press conference DHI Infra CEO, Kuenga Tshering said that in order to facilitate close coordination the empowered group is replaced by Education City Board. He added that the 13 member board would be the highest body for Education City.
The ground works for Education City would begin from first week of January next year.