The arduous task of retaining teachers

While it was envisioned that increased remuneration and allowance will help lower the attrition rate of teachers, it seems little has it done to stop teachers from leaving their profession.

This is because teachers leaving the profession is still on the rise in the country despite being the highest-paid civil servants in the country.

According to the Annual Education Statistics 2021, more than 300 teachers left the profession last year, 190 more than in 2020.

Further, it is surprising that most of the teachers resigned voluntarily. It is surprising that such a thing is continuing despite the government having made teaching one of the highest-paid professions in the country in 2019. Such a move was also taken up considering the growing attrition rate of teachers and to attract the best and the brightest into the profession.

But considering the exodus of educationists from this profession, it is apparent that there is something wrong somewhere when an increasing number of teachers are opting to find a way out of this profession. While some have left for greener pastures, it seems some are impatiently waiting for that golden opportunity to bid adieu.

A few teachers attribute the heavy workload, having to participate in all co-curricular activities, fewer holidays, and the intricate education systems such as the Bhutan Professional Standards for Teachers and the Individual Work Plan as factors contributing to the high attrition rate among teachers.

Seriously, we need to find solutions to avert this exodus. While reasons could vary and could be many behind teachers leaving this profession, this is obviously not a positive development. Educationists play a crucial role in shaping the future of the youth and thus the future of the nation.

This also becomes a cause for concern in the wake of a deluge of flak on the quality of education in the country. Perhaps, it’s not the first time we are hearing about the dearth of teachers, the appointment of contract-based teachers, and the deteriorating quality of education in the country.

And while we have also been told that there is no dearth of teachers per se and education reports identify low academic and professional standards for entry into the teaching profession as major constraints in the current system, it’s time we right the wrongs in the system. How long will we continue to find a replacement to fill the vacuum left by those who are leaving or are about to leave?

The departure also means the departure of skills, knowledge, and experience. These are the people who know the education system inside out. The education ministry has an important responsibility to come up with interventions to retain seasoned teachers.