The Prime Minister said that the recent cabinet reshuffle is in the larger national interest. The reshuffle saw the announcement of the resignation of the Education Minister, transfer of the Minister for Economic Affairs to the Ministry of Education and announcement of a new minister in the form of Bardo-Trong MP Lekey Dorji to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Ultimately all three decisions were taken by the PM as it is his prerogative under the Constitution.
He said, “The Education Minister Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa has had health issues and this issue has been looked at from the last one year. The minister himself voluntarily offered to resign since a year ago.”
The PM said that the minister worked hard and had done a lot in the Ministry of Education. He said that Lyonpo Mingbo had laid out the Education blue print for the next 10 years, secured resources with GoI assistance and expanded education in the country.
Lyonchhen said that the action by the Education Minister sets a good precedent for democracy as the minister, who was not feeling well, was voluntarily willing to move on and give a chance to a younger minister.
Talking about the choice of MP Lekey Dorji as the choice for the MoEA, the PM said that he was well qualified to take on his job given his qualifications.
The MP, before joining politics was a successful consultant prior to which he worked in Bhutan Telecom. He has an MSC in Telecom and a BSc in Electrical Engineering. He has also done other developmental courses and studies in various fields.
“Given his qualifications, experience and ability he is the most qualified to be the MoEA minister as the ministry deals with economics and the corporate sector. He is hard working and he will be an asset to the cabinet,” said the PM.
The MP was also seen as one of the most hardworking and well prepared parliamentarians doing a lot of research on legislative matters.
On assigning the MoEA minister Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk to MoE Lyonchhen said that the minister will see this as a step up and a professional challenge.
“He has lived up to and even exceeded my expectations in the MoEA and has laid the ground work, there” said the PM.
The PM said that after the Education Minister’s resignation the MoE needs a young man like Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk who is passionate about education as the ministry requires 24 by 7 work with Central schools, teacher development among others.
The Prime Minister said that education is a top priority for the future of the country as the current peace, sovereignty and security enjoyed by the country was due to the leadership of the Kings in investing in education.
He said, “If Bhutan has to be successful in another 10 years then it is down to education.”
The PM said that investment and focus in education may not have political gain but it is for the long term national gain.
Meanwhile, Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said that his age was catching up with him as he had reached around 65 years of age. What made it worse for him he said were his health issues.
The minister revealed a particularly serious incident last year where he said without his realizing his blood pressure had reached 193 by 131 and could have even died if not for timely check up and medication.
“I had been requesting the Prime Minister since the last one year to accept my resignation,” said the minister.
Lyonpo said that his health condition was related to his job which was very stressful and required a lot of field activity and travelling all over the country on a regular basis. He said that in such a physically and mentally taxing scenario a younger minister would be more suited for such activity.
The minister said that he had laid the groundwork and achieved a lot in his time and it was time for someone else to carry on.
Lyonpo pointed out that the MoE had very good results during the 11th plan mid-term review.
Lyonpo said that when he first took over the Prime Minister was very concerned about education and the need to improve schools and its services for children. The minister said that the ministry launched a school reform program.
As a part of this nationwide consultations were done with various stakeholders leading to the 10 years blue print for education. He said 2016 was the third year of the implementation of the blueprint of which Central Schools is a part. He said there were strategic interventions with additional facilities at school levels and other school reform programs.
The minister also said that there were extensive capital works that are going on or on the verge of completion that would provide a major boost to school infrastructure in the country.
Lyonpo said that his resignation would allow him breathing space and also time to focus on his constituency.