The Opposition party, in the press conference on January 19, said that the government should take the full responsibility of the problem of surplus of teachers, caused due to a policy change by the government.
The issue was highlighted after the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) announced only 182 vacancies for the 417 teacher graduates, unlike past years, where each and every trainee is recruited.
The Opposition Leader (OL), Dr Pema Gyamtsho said the Opposition suspects the government’s initiative, Education Blueprint, as a policy change has caused the problem.
When asked about the limited vacancy for teachers, OL said, “The problem was always attracting people to the profession and retaining the teachers in the profession. But all of a sudden it turned around 180 degrees. This came to all of us as a shock.”
The Member of Parliament (MP) Panbang, Dorji Wangdi, said, “We wish to appraise the government that they are trained to teach and groom the youth and not to be idle and unproductive citizens themselves. We demand that they all be rightfully, gainfully employed in the profession they are trained in.”
He also commented on the government stance that the issue has come up due to the past government which has misled the graduates by guaranteeing automatic jobs. The Panbang MP said, “Yes, we have guaranteed them the jobs. Isn’t that our duty, the duty of the government? We believe our sacred duty is to secure good career and life to our children and citizens at large.”
The Khar-Yurung MP, Zangley Drukpa, said there is a lack of coordination and planning between relevant agencies and the ministry. Commenting on the Ministry of Education’s stance on there being an adequate ratio of teachers to students, he said it is not just the teacher to student ratio that should decide the adequacy of teachers, but it should be measured in terms of subject to teacher ratio as well, as there is a shortage of Maths and Science teachers in the country.
The Opposition also pointed out that 100 percent of the graduates has been automatically provided jobs by the government, since the set up of first teaching training institute in 1968.
In a press release issued by the Opposition, the mandate of two colleges of education in Samtse and Paro were established specifically to take care of teacher needs, plan, train and deploy teachers in a systematic manner.
In addition, it says that all intakes in the past have been carefully planned as per the existing and future needs, in turn, as per the education policy of the government then.
There was at all no anomaly or miscalculation in the needs or deployment of teachers, let aside misleading, it adds.
Meanwhile, on the same day, the Prime Minister (PM), Tshering Tobgay, called an emergency meeting of RCSC, education ministry, and labour and human resources ministry to review the issue of B. Ed graduates.
The ministries and RCSC along with Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), in a week’s time, has to come up with a joint proposal outlining strategies to address the issue.
A press release from Prime Minister’s Office states that the Prime Minister has directed RCSC and education ministry to take an immediate re-assessment of teachers’ deployment, and decide how many can be employed on contract. PM has also directed the education ministry, GNHC, and RCSC on recruitment of B. Ed graduates on contract in the central schools.
PM also talked on the recruiting Bhutanese as teachers in Thailand, sending young Bhutanese to Australia and on the Business Opportunity and Information Centre to pursue a plan of action to develop the entrepreneurial skills in young Bhutanese for self-employment and to help generate jobs.