PM says long-term training students eligible for hike

Prime Minister Dasho (Dr) Lotay Tshering during the 51st Meet-the-Press session on friday, gave hope for Long-Term Training (LTT) students, particularly teachers pursuing master’s degrees in the country. The PM addressed the prevailing confusion surrounding allowances and variable pay, assuring LTT students that they should be eligible for a significant pay raise.

The confusion and debate arose from the misunderstanding between allowances and variable pay, which had left many LTT students, especially those on a pursuit for a Master’s degree, in a state of confusion. Earlier, the RCSC and the Ministry of Finance had categorically stated that LTT students were not eligible for a pay raise, classifying it as an allowance.

PM Dr Lotay Tshering addressed this misinterpretation, stating, “Finance Ministry and RCSC say there are no changes in the basic salary, and people on Long-Term Training are not getting the raise because the pay raise was on allowances. So, I asked, who said the pay revision this time is on allowance? We did not do anything with the basic salary because of the implications that will it have on the post-retirement benefits. But variable salary is also a salary, so I feel like they equally deserve this pay raise, and I am yet to get a response from the Finance Ministry.”

The decision will be finalized during the last Cabinet meeting before the current government’s term ends on Monday. This decision is set to have a profound impact on LTT students and their families, and the education system too.

These clarifications during the Meet-the-Press session have given a new hope into the aspirations of LTT students who wish to upgrade their qualifications and stay aligned with the 21st Century teaching and learning processes.

Ugyen Dorji, a 1st year M.Ed Social Studies student from Paro College of Education, shared his concerns, highlighting the significant consequences of not granting the salary raise to those on LTT, especially teachers. He expressed, “Today’s Meet-the-Press came as hope for teachers who are currently pursuing LTT and who wish to pursue Master’s degrees in the coming years.” He further added, “Because of the wrong interpretation of the policy, no teachers have applied for the Master’s program next year, and so the Ministry of Education had to re-announce the program. In the long run, if teachers don’t upgrade and update their knowledge, the quality of education will remain at risk.”

Kinzang Dorji, a 1st year M.Ed student in Inclusive Education, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the financial burden faced by LTT students. “For far too long, LTT students have not received the financial support that they rightfully deserve. The reconsideration of pay for LTT students is a positive step forward. It not only acknowledges the importance of supporting education but also recognizes the value that LTT students bring to society.”

According to BCSR 2018 section 9.9.2.4, “Allowance of any form shall cease to be paid during LTT, except House Rent Allowance which shall be as per Section 11.11.1.12” and section 11.11.1.12, “A civil servant on LTT shall be paid full HRA for the first 12 months and 50 percent for the remaining period.”  Civil servants on LTT will not be entitled to Professional Allowance. However, the 50 percent pay raise is not part of allowance, which is also clarified by PM yesterday at the press meet.

Kinzang Dorji further added, “If it’s an allowance, we are aware that we are not eligible but that was not allowance.”

In response to these concerns, the Prime Minister’s statement has been received with enthusiasm and optimism. Yeshi Wangchuk, an M.Ed student in English, expressed his relief, saying, “We are clear that we are eligible only for the basic pay. What is unclear is with the pay hike, which isn’t an allowance.” He shared that it has come from the Throne as a pay hike to civil servants and this is exactly what they were asking for, and finally, it sounds like the Prime Minister has understood the concerns. He further added, “The pay hike wasn’t titled to be an allowance. So, we are eligible for this pay hike.”

The impact of this decision is far-reaching, as it alleviates the financial burden on LTT students, enabling them to focus on their studies and research without constant worries about finances. It underscores the government’s recognition of the crucial role education plays in the progress of the nation and the world.

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One comment

  1. This pay hike has not only created misunderstanding and distrust for those undergoing studies in the country but also applies to ex-country LTT candidates. In my view, there is nothing to be misunderstood as both BCSR and the Pay Revision Act clearly indicate its eligibility for a pay hike irrespective of LTT or not.

    BTW, are there any follow-up questions being put on with this respect?

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