The mismatch between teachers’ subject qualification and subject teacher requirement in the schools continues to remain as a challenge, as per the education ministry. A related major challenge also remains in deploying the teachers as per the level of training they received.
The national average student teacher ratio as of 2017 stood at 18 students per teacher, which according to the education system is considered low.
The chief human resource officer, Dendup Tshering, said that the ministry ensures that teachers are recruited based on subject requirements and deployed to schools as per their trained subject and appropriateness of school levels.
However, he said that a few B. Ed graduates were recruited according to their willingness to teach the primary sections since there were no requirement in secondary levels. “Where there are excess teachers in a few secondary subjects, the schools are informed to teach primary sections as an interim measure.”
He said that those B.Ed. secondary graduates are recruited primarily to replace community based teachers, who were teaching primary sections and whose contract term was not renewed by the ministry. “There are a few instances in schools, wherein teachers who have one elective subject in B.Ed. Primary are teaching secondary levels, while a few schools would have secondary teachers teaching primary sections.”
Though the national average ratio between teacher and student is considered low as per the standard of the education system, it is accompanied by high standard deviation of 5.2, an indication of very high and uneven distribution of teachers among the schools. The 2017 MoE statistics reveal that ratio ranges from 2 to 51, where some remote schools have ratios as less as 2 while other have ratio as high as 51.
The ministry’s human resource division said that the effort are, however, made to ensure that teachers trained in primary are deployed in schools to teach the primary section from class PP till VI, while secondary teachers to deploy to teach secondary section from class VII till XII. “There are constant efforts to ensure that schools have adequate teachers based on subject requirements and to minimize deployment inefficiencies through an annual teacher requirement exercise.”
While effort to minimize the inefficiencies are underway, a few teachers who requested for anonymity said that primary and secondary level of teaching differs largely and has an impact on quality of education.
A secondary level trained teacher from Wangdue said that he has been teaching in primary school for the last one year due to a shortage of subject teacher in primary level. He said, “I am confident and equipped regarding the subject knowledge, but I’m not confident about the skills and strategies to teach even my own subject to the students in primary school.”
Another teacher teaching in one of the primary schools in Samtse for last three years said that this measure to curb the teacher shortage creates a huge impact on both the teachers and the students. She said that the secondary and primary levels are different, having its own sets of pedagogical challenges and skills that need to be put up.
“Putting teachers in the classroom without practical knowledge and pedagogical skills can be as good as allowing doctors to operate without any experience,” she said adding that while this would have been a big issue had it been in hospitals, but it seems to be acceptable in the schools.
Currently, there are 61 higher secondary schools including 19 private higher secondary schools in the country and 144 lower and middle secondary schools of the total 515 schools in a country. MoE’s 2017 statistic reveals that 446 schools have a student teacher ratio between 1: 20, of which, majority are primary schools and ECRs.
The total number of teachers as of 2017 is 9,415 with 8,644 teaching in government schools and 771 in private schools. Out of the total public school teachers, 7,612 are in school and teaching since 1,032 teachers are on long term leave as of June 2017.
Around 2,500 teacher trainees are currently pursuing B.Ed and PGDE programmes in the two colleges of education in Samtse and Paro.