Education and Skills Development Minister Jai Bir Rai

As teachers resign in large numbers Education Minister shares what is being done

A pertinent concern is the continuing loss of large numbers of teachers from all over the country with the result that many schools do not have enough teachers and are also making do with contract teachers where they can.

From January to 25 May 2023 there were 488 voluntary resignations of teachers which comprises of 378 regular teachers and 110 contract teachers.  Education Management and Administration services who are mainly Principals and Vice Principals saw 13 resignations. Counselling services who also come under Education saw 19 resignations.

146 teachers are on Extra Ordinary Leave.

In 2022 around 921 people from the Education and Training services group were separated from the service.

One of the ideas within the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to deal with this issue is to consolidate the numbers of schools into bigger ones and avoid cases where there are five students and three teachers and this would also help consolidate the infrastructure.

It is thought that over the years due to political pledges and expediency the number of extended classrooms increased dramatically and any government is reluctant too touch this as it could have political implications.

Here, the Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said some consolidation of these extended classroom has already happened where there are 10 students or less, but this requires the local governments to agree and also there needs to be hostel facilities. He said some local government have agreed and done that.

When asked why the ministry cannot do it on its own the minister said such things should come bottom up and not go top down. He said that education is a very sentimental matter and there is a lot of attachment as people give it a lot of importance.

The minister said there are several reasons sometimes why there are only a few students, but teachers are kept for them. He said one focus is to prevent rural-urban migration and the need to develop rural areas. Lyonpo said this is the reason why governments have provided electricity, water, roads and other services to rural areas.

The minister said though 12 percent of teachers have left there are still around 9,000 teachers. He said that there are shortages, but it is being met by sharing workload, motivating teachers and the ministry has asked District Education Officers to provide psychological support.

The minister, however, said that teachers also get influenced by others to resign and go abroad.

The minister said while many teachers have left, the ministry is hiring regular teachers who got through BCSE and there is a pool of around 2,000 of them. He said that contract recruitment has been decentralized and so Dzongkhags can recruit teachers on contract.

Lyonpo said that the assumption was that more teachers resign from urban areas but the reality is that they are resigning from all areas. He said the pressure is more in urban areas as there are more students there but the advantage is that recruitment is easier in urban areas where as in rural areas recruitment it is more challenging.

The minister said that hiring retired senior teachers could also be an option. He said that self financed teachers can also be hired.

The minister said the situation would also be helped by teachers coming from the Samtse and Paro colleges of education in July and October.

The ministry is in talks with the RCSC to directly recruit Samtse and Paro Colleges of Education graduates directly into teaching without having to give the BCSE exams but here the RCSC will have to be convinced by ensuring good assessment tools.

The minister said the ministry is doing a thorough assessment of demand and supply and how many are leaving over a period of time and what the trends are.

In an earlier interview the minister had told this paper that a substantial pay hike had been recommended by the ministry to the 6th Pay Commission though it would be up to the Commission to decide based on the resources.

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