After being declared surplus by RCSC, their long wait for employment is finally over

Teachers: The ministry of education will hand over appointment orders to 200 B.Ed graduates today.  The teacher graduates, who were not taken into the civil service by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), have been appointed on regular contract for two years.

After months of anxiety and impatience, their faces glowed and excitement filled the Zilukha middle secondary school auditorium as they waited for education ministry officials to brief them on the contract and placements yesterday.

Graduates were given a lucky dip for dzongkhag placement.  Those, who were not happy with the dzongkhag they picked, could switch with their friends.  While many moved from one place to another looking for some one to switch with, Sonam Tshering sat calm, holding the lucky dip coupon.  He got Zhemgang.

“I’ve waited for this day, to get a job. That I got it I now, I don’t mind serving anywhere in the country,” he said.

The graduates will be receiving a gross salary of more than Nu 24,000 including contract and housing allowance.  This is almost double than what some of the teacher in private schools earn today.

These trained contract teachers will now replace the community-based contract teachers in phases.  There are today 285 community-based teachers, whose contract expired in 2013, but are still continuing with their job.   Education officials said the community-based teachers were taken in after class XII and are not trained.

The decision to replace community-based teachers with the B.Ed trainees comes after the prime minister called an emergency meeting and directed the MoE, RCSC, Gross National Happiness Commission and the labour ministry to review the B.Ed graduates’ issue and come up with immediate solutions.

After RCSC absorbed only 182 of the 417 B.Ed graduates from the two teacher training colleges in Samtse and Paro, this was the first time B.Ed graduates were in surplus.

The ministry’s chief human recourse officer, Kinley Gyeltshen, said the graduates were recruited on regular contract, so that they could leave or terminate the contract, if they got other opportunities during the contract term.

While the remaining 35 who are on standby, turned up for briefing yesterday, nothing was confirmed on their recruitment.

One of them got employed in one of the private schools in Thimphu.  She said, she was willing to teach in a private school but the salary was disappointing.

“When trained teachers with same qualification level are paid twice more than us, it makes us inferior,” the 24-year-old general category B.Ed graduate said. “Private schools need to value and pay trained teachers reasonably.”

Meanwhile, community based contract teachers (CBT) are continuing to teach, although they were informed verbally that their contacts would not be renewed.  Most of the contracts expire around the middle of this year.

A community-based teacher in Punakha, Karma, said, they have gained experience with two years of teaching and could teach as good as trained teachers, although they have no degree in teaching. “I’ve not planned for another job and I don’t know what to do,” the teacher said.

Another CBT, also in Punakha, said that it might be right on the part of education ministry to replace untrained teachers with trained teachers.  But the CBTs need some time to find other employment. “Since we’re specialised in teaching, I’m afraid if anyone would employ us,” she said.

The chief HRO said the ministry had already written to district education officers to not renew the contracts of the community-based contract teachers.

“We can’t afford to retain untrained community-based teachers, when trained teachers are available,” he said.

By Nirmala Pokhrel