About 3.5 percent of teachers in government schools voluntarily resign every year and most of them go to third countries suggests a study by the education ministry.
“Most of the teachers who voluntarily resigned are found to be in third countries like Australia, USA and Canada,” said the ministry’s chief human resource officer, Kinley Gyeltshen.
This year of 217 teachers who resigned, 91 were voluntary, 44 had taken an extraordinary leave, 14 resigned for study leave and 10 were registered for study leave. Another 25 had resigned to take the post of Vice Principal, 21 were due to superannuate and the rest were because of untimely death, contract extension expiry, transfer to other agencies and deputation.
Voluntary resignations were higher in the urban areas than rural locations.
Category wise, most resignations come from general category of the primary level, which has the maximum number of teachers. Out of the 91 who resigned this year 28 were from the general category.
A teacher who resigned to run a private business in Phuentsholing he quit because he was able to get transferred to his preferred dzongkhag.
Kalikhola Middle Secondary School Principal Kinley Dorji said many teachers who voluntarily resign prefer their next destination in third countries. “I have around six of my friends who are currently in Australia pursing studies and also working,” he said.
The prime minister during the recent meet the press session got the statistics wrong when he said “It’s a concern because every trained teacher that leaves is a loss to the education system,” Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay said.
On the positive side he said resignations would provide employment opportunities to eligible successors and graduates. “This is a fundamental right of every Bhutanese citizen and it’s good that people are exercising the rights,” he said.
He also said the main reason teachers are resigning is for better opportunities in the country and abroad. “There are many Bhutanese working abroad which is also good for our country’s revenue and adds to our human resource,” he said.
According to labour ministry’s records there are 3,612 Bhutanese working abroad excluding those in third countries like Australia.
He said that recognizing the efforts of teachers is very important. “This is why the teachers are highest in number among recipients of medals every year from His Majesty,” Lyonchhen said. “We have an education blueprint that focuses on transforming teaching and human resource policy that aims to attract and maintain the best.”
The education ministry has recently implemented the system of allocation of one subject per teacher and reduced the normal 22 hours of teaching per week to 18 hours per week.
Lyonchen said the current budget, which is Nu 1.6 million for the professional development of the teachers will be further increased. “We are also providing teachers more support staffs so that they can just focus on teaching which will help building the morale and add capacity of the teacher,” he said.