Teachers feel that keeping Saturday as a holiday will benefit both teachers and students

Although teachers are the highest-paid civil servants in the country, however, they are bogged down with heavy workload. Many teachers cited the workload as being the reason why they are leaving the teaching profession.

In the past, teachers in government schools strongly supported doing away with the Saturday classes because having no classes on Saturdays would benefit both students and teachers, and it would also ease the workload for them and subsequently help them to spend more time with their families.

The decision to do away with the instructional classes on Saturdays was taken at the 19th National Education Conference held in Phuentsholing in 2019, with the main intention to improve the teaching-learning process in the class, which will contribute to the quality of education the student receives.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector was hit hard and classes were conducted online. So, in order to make up for the lost time, the Ministry of Education (MoE) resumed instructional classes on Saturday in around May last year.

The Bhutanese talked to the teachers of different schools, and they had similar views on the Saturday classes. They voiced that keeping Saturday as a holiday will not affect both teaching and learning.

They shared that they have to sacrifice their holiday, not just with the Saturday classes but also during any government holidays. And that it is tiresome for them. They wish that the government can continue with the previous decision to do away with the Saturday classes. They have shared that Saturdays should be kept as a holiday.

A teacher from the Phuentsholing School shared that teachers are occupied with instructional classes from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, they have classes till the third period excluding the primary level and other activities such as Professional Development programs, meetings, SUPW, etc., on Saturdays. 

The teacher shared they have to be in the school on Saturdays which goes beyond 5 pm unlike during the weekdays. Teachers have to be in the school, and have normal classes and sometimes ad-hoc meetings and others activities. Saturdays are very hectic, unlike the weekdays when the teachers do not feel so.

“It is hectic, we are tired and sometimes it is difficult to adjust, and we feel that there shouldn’t be any classes on Saturdays and it is a burden on both students and teachers,” said the teacher.

He also shared that it is not necessary to have a holiday every Saturday, but if teachers and students can take holiday at least two Saturdays in a month, this would really ease the life of both the students and the teachers and they can take rest and be with the family.

While for the covering of the syllabus, the teachers can easily cover it since they have classes till the eighth period from Monday to Friday, said the teacher.

Another teacher shared that since she teaches the primary level students, they have the instructional class for one period for class IV students and both teachers and students have to be in the school till noon and with pretty much nothing to do.

Her colleagues shared the same thoughts that it is better for all the teachers and students to have no classes on Saturdays so that they can have quality time with their families and get enough rest to start school from Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile, the MoE issued a notification on 14th May 2021 informing all the schools to resume half working days on Saturday due to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Bhutan in March 2020.

Meanwhile, MoE has been receiving calls and enquiries from the schools on whether the notification to resume half working days on Saturday is still valid for the 2023 academic year.

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