RITH to submit third report on delinking to government in June

The report will be submitted to the government in June this year

The Royal Institute for Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) will be submitting the third report on delinking RITH from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) to the government in June this year.

The officiating Principal of RITH, Ugyen Dorji said the third report that will be submitted in June primarily involves proposals requesting the government support in form of subsidies during the initial stage of RITH’s operation as an autonomous body.

“We won’t be able to sustain without the government’s support if the plan of delinking gets approved and we may require government’s assistance in the beginning,” he said. 

He said they have also developed a proposal requesting the government to invest a small sum for RITH’s infrastructure development in order to sustain it in the forthcoming years.  

“RITH aspires to function like the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) in the future, which is not possible at the initial stage as the RUB is a far larger organization than RITH,” Ugyen Dorji said, adding that the reason for recommending delink was that it had become difficult to function as civil servants while working in a commercial capacity.  

He added that there are lots of opportunities that the RITH can explore.

“If the proposal gets approved, we intend to diversify by bringing in more students and work on accreditation with universities abroad,” he said.

According to RITH, the government’s initial support in the form of block grants is critical to its long-term viability if it is to become autonomous.

“We will also contribute in any manner we can, whether it’s through event management or other revenue-generating methods,” said the officiating principal, adding that it is also conducting consultation and workshops on the delinking modalities.

Currently, RITH has roughly 113 students, of which 13 are enrolled privately, and all the faculties in RITH are civil servants under the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

Meanwhile, RITH suggested that it should function as an independent body, and then the TCB Secretariat was asked to come up with a formal plan to unlink RITH from the TCB at the first meeting of the third tourism council in 2019.

The RCSC proposed the plan to the cabinet secretary, reasoning that the institute would have financial flexibility and Human Resource (HR) would get the best faculty, especially lecturers from the relevant tourism industry last year.  

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on the other hand had asked the RCSC to resubmit the report after making a few changes to the report’s recommendations.

In addition, the first report that was submitted before recommended that RITH functions as an independent body with financial autonomy, but without HR autonomy. 

The second report indicated that RITH should operate under the newly constituted TVET plan, which the PM rejected. Lyonchen urged RITH to look into ways for them to sustain without the government’s grant and function as a fully autonomous body.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu