Bhutan Professional Standard for Teachers aims at enhancing teacher quality

In order to improve the quality of education and take education system forward in the country, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has initiated the Bhutan Professional Standard for Teachers (BPST), which is one of the reforms to enhance the teacher quality. There are about 10,000 teachers in the country.

Chief Program Officer of Teacher Professional Division, Tashi Lhamo, said BPST is the standards and expectations of teachers across four career stages; Beginning, Proficient, Accomplished, and Distinguished.

Right now, teachers are graded as per their tenure. In the coming year, MoE will see how many teachers fall under the proficient career stage.

She explained that a proficient teacher independently applies effective teaching strategies, classroom management skills and use of learners’ assessment data. An accomplished teacher displays a high level of performance in their professional practices, and a distinguished teacher is a role model who exhibits the highest level of performance in their professional practices. She or he is recognized for his or her creativity, versatility, innovation and leadership in education.

The beginning level teacher standard must be attained by the graduates of the Colleges of Education. These novice teachers will seek guidance and support from experienced colleagues in the school.

She said they can practice the proficiency of a proficient teacher in the first two years and those years will be counted as probation period. In the third year, they will be assessed for the standard of a proficient teacher.

From a proficient level, it will take another four years to get in the accomplished level. If the teachers are not happy with the assessment, they can put up an appeal to the appellate body in their respective dzongkhags, she added.

If teachers attain any of these three stages then they get additional allowance as proficiency allowance; 10 percent for the proficient stage, 15 percent for the accomplished level and 20 percent for the distinguished level on and above their present salary.

The assessors consist of principal, senior colleagues, subject heads and department heads who will observe the classes and provide feedback. The teachers will be observed three times in a year and at the end of the year, assessors will consolidate their ratings.

MoE has provided training to about 1,000 assessors in the beginning of the year, and assessors in high-risk areas were trained through Zoom. End of this year, assessors will be given another training.

She said that although teachers with the teaching experience of 3 years and above are eligible to be assessed for the proficient career stage, in 2022, MoE might assess teachers with the teaching experience of 10 or 15 years and above because adequate numbers of assessors could not be trained due to the COVID-19 situations. Further, she mentioned that credibility of teacher assessment must be maintained.

She said everyone should know that teaching is not an easy job, and the quality of education depends on the quality of teachers. There are also teachers who are working hard despite all the challenges. With the implementation of BPST, “We have to create conducive environment for the teachers to work and especially teachers in the rural areas they should be provided with residences to make their living comfortable, along with ICT facilities, etc. There are challenges in urban areas too, there are facilities but number of students are high,” she added.

She shared that there was School Level Monitoring Support Service in the past days, but it did not take root. Now with the implementation of BPST, all teachers are to be observed, and given feedback to improve their teaching practices. BPST is not to fix teachers, but rather, “We are doing this to identify teachers who are doing well and those who need support,” she said.

Meanwhile, BPST highlights that the standard will be linked to recruitment, remuneration, career development, promotion, rewards and recognitions to nurture and retain competent and motivated teachers.

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