Only five contract employees remain in REC

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The Royal Education Council (REC) has retained only five regular contract employees in the professional category of the 12 recruited initially including other administrative staffs.

According to the REC, six employees resigned before their contract term expired and one did not renew the term that expired on June 30 this year.

The 26 employees of erstwhile Royal Education Council and 16 employees of Centenary Institute of Education (CIE) in Yonphula, Trashigang, were terminated with effect from October 1, 2015 following a decision made at the second council meeting of REC held on July 1, 2015.

The employees were terminated following the merger of REC with Department of Curriculum and Research Development (DCRD) under the education ministry as to avoid overlapping and duplication of roles and functions of the two agencies.

Most of the employees were recruited as regular who quit the civil service to join the council and only two were on contract in the erstwhile REC.

The new REC being semi-autonomous under the Royal Civil Service Commission, employees of erstwhile REC were taken as regular contract employee for three years’ term and renewal then after.

Only two professionals were taken to new REC as regular because they were on deputation.

Dean and Curriculum Developer, Curriculum Development Center, REC, Wangpo Tenzin said some of the employees have not joined the new REC and 12 in the professional category joined as contract employee along with employees in other categories.

“REC’s contract employees left looking for better job opportunities, overseas and some left because of personnel reasons,” said Wangpo Tenzin.

One of the contract employees of REC said even if the contract is renewed, promotions and scholarships are on hold for them.

“Earlier, we were regular employees, later we had to make a contract and for some of us it was forced contract,” he added.

Additionally, he said although there are offers for scholarships because of the obligations they are not able to complete the courses and some officials are not able to travel outside the country although they are working on projects funded by organizations outside the country.

The REC management also feels that when the contract employees exit there is a gap in recruiting a replacement affecting the continuity of work especially those related to school curriculum.

Additionally, REC outlines the employees not getting equal opportunity in terms of ex-country travels related to their work as a challenge because the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations (BCSR)do not permit contract employees for ex-country travel hence affecting their morale

“The Civil Service promotion rules shall not apply to the contract employees, however, the RCSC may consider revision of the terms and conditions for payment of a higher salary or assignment of higher position level when the contract is renewed after a minimum period of five years of service based on performance,” BCSR 2018 states.

In addition, the contract employees are not eligible for ex-country travel and training as well as long-term training and for extraordinary leave.

Of the 42 employees, 12 have Master’s degree, 18 are university graduates, four were class XII graduates, and others include three caretakers, two sweepers, two drivers, and one messenger.

REC was established through a Royal Command in August 2007 to initiate and implement education reforms across the entire spectrum covering school, technical and tertiary education.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu

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