Ed­u­ca­tion for All

Southasia - - 15 -

In­dia’s In­fin­ity Group has re­cently un­veiled plans for build­ing an Ed­u­ca­tion City in Bhutan worth Rs, 4,000 crore. The Group re­cently signed an agree­ment with Bhutan’s In­fra­struc­ture Leas­ing & Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Lim­ited to con­struct the 1,000-acre project in Chozum, sit­u­ated be­tween Thimphu and Paro. Bhutan en­joys pos­i­tive bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with In­dia and this project will fur­ther strengthen their ties. Bhutan will have a 51% share in the project while the In­fin­ity Group will set­tle with a 49% share. The In­dian Group is ap­proach­ing lead­ing univer­si­ties in the UK, USA and Aus­tralia to set up their cam­puses in the Ed­u­ca­tion City. UK’s Durham School is one of the first in­sti­tu­tions to show in­ter­est at this of­fer.

In­dia’s as­sis­tance will help Bhutan de­velop its ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem as it aims to achieve 70% lit­er­acy rate by 2014. More­over, the Ed­u­ca­tion City project will boost for­eign in­vest­ment to Bhutan. In 2011, World Bank as- sessed Bhutan for not be­ing an in­vest­ment friendly na­tion, which is why the coun­try is mak­ing all ef­forts to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment. The World Bank also cited lack of in­fra­struc­ture in Bhutan as a ma­jor draw­back. The Ed­u­ca­tion City is ex­pected to be a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity that will make Bhutan a fa­vor­able in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.

The Ed­u­ca­tion City rep­re­sents a bea­con of hope for Bhutan although there are con­cerns that the coun­try is spend­ing too much at a time when cost sav­ing mea­sures should be its pri­or­ity. Some quar­ters of the Bhutanese government are con­cerned over In­dia’s involvement in the project.

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