Understanding on providing a remuneration of Nu 140,000 per month has been reached
With teachers’ attrition rate increasing, Bhutan is grappling with challenges faced due to the shortage of teachers.
Additionally, the shortages are more in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as experienced teachers in this field get better opportunities in countries like Australia. In order to fill in these gaps, the government is going to recruit experienced STEM teachers from India.
Underlining that the government is well aware of the challenges faced in the education sector, Karma Dorji, minister, Ministry of industry, commerce and employment (MoICE) said shortage of teachers cause problems for serving teachers, parents and students.
The minister shared that there are more shortage of STEM teacher in the country as they get better opportunity in foreign lands which make them leave their job in the home country.
“As STEM is also important in Australia, Bhutanese teachers who have specialized in STEM is grabbing the opportunity abroad leading to major shortage of STEM teachers in the country,” the minister said, adding that less number of STEM teacher in the country has now become a challenge.
To address such issues, the minister said that the ministry is soon recruiting Indian teachers from India.
“To overcome these challenges, the government of India (GoI) has agreed to support the country and the Indian government will recruit the best STEM teachers who will soon reach Bhutan,” the minister said, adding that an agreement to pay a monthly salary of Nu 140,000 has been reached.
The minister said, “With this recruitment, we are hopeful to fill the gaps and moreover there will be an improvement in the standard and the quality of education which will help teachers and the students.”
He also added that though recruitment of contract teachers is an alternative, they would not have the experience, especially in teaching STEM subjects. Another measure adopted to address the issue is the royal civil service commission (RCSC) recently increasing the superannuation age of teachers from 58 years to 60 years.
“If the government make the superannuation age to 63years or 65 years then there will be issues with the pension as all the teachers will get the opportunity but with the superannuation age of 60 years, we can pick the best teachers and keep them by extending their contracts,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, many citizens are now concerned that in the near future the quality of education will be hampered if the issue is not addressed tactically and soon.
Nedup Zangmo, 34, a mother of two said that she has to guide her child studying in the Seventh grade. “I never used to guide my boy as he is good in studies but I was shocked for the first time when he complained to me about his mathematics teacher,” said Nedup.
Nedup shared that her boy complained that there is only one teacher teaching mathematics in the seventh standard and that the teacher has been teaching three classes together with two batches for over one month.
Nedup said that she is also worried about other students, especially on how their performance will be in the upcoming unit tests since the students were taught clustered with many numbers.
Similarly, Sonam Choki, a guardian said that though it is good to go digital the content videos send by subject teachers in the group chat are not good as even she is struggling to understand the concept of the videos send by the subject teacher.
“I have learned that due to the shortage of teachers, the teacher was not able to guide the students and they have been sending the content videos where some videos cannot be interpreted easily,” Sonam said, adding that the only solution to this is to recruit contract teachers.
Sonam Thinley, a concerned parent said that they are well aware of the shortage of teachers in the country. He said that if the government could at least have more contract teachers, the issues could be addressed.
“Even though most of the contract teachers are inexperienced, it would be good to have them rather than one teacher teaching over crowded students. I feel that at least the students will be able to learn and the teacher will be able to guide the students when the numbers are less,” said Sonam.
Meanwhile, the Thromde and different dzongkhags in the country are recruiting national contract teachers every year to fill the gaps and to overcome the challenges.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu