For the last seven months, about 200 Bachelors in Education (BEd) graduates from Paro and Samtse Colleges of Education have been waiting for  vacancies on contract-recruitment to be announced.

The representatives of the graduates appealed to the grievance cell under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on February 11. These graduates are those who completed BEd in July 2018 and scored more than 50 percent pass mark in the last civil service examination.

One of the graduates, requesting anonymity, said that in December 2018 the government recruited 249 teachers for primary and secondary schools as regular teachers.

“After the recruitment of regular teachers, the education ministry usually recruits BEd graduates on contract as regular contract, consolidated or substitute and national contract teachers,” the graduate said. “We were hopeful that vacancies for contract teachers would be announced soon but we’re still waiting.”

Another graduate said that an increasing number of teachers leave the profession annually, yet no vacancies for contract teachers are announced.

“We’re the first batch who graduated in July unlike in the past who graduate in December after the change in academic session,” the graduate said. “So to fill in the vacant spots, the ministry had recruited 316 teachers on one-year contract.”

However, the graduate added that some of these teachers’ contract has been extended leaving the BEd graduates like them unemployed. 

“In these long months, the RCSC and education ministry could have worked out on the vacancy. But officials keep saying that regular contract vacancies would be floated soon.”

The disgruntled graduates also said that whenever there are vacancies in the dzongkhags and thromdes, general graduates are also made eligible to apply. “But we’re not even allowed to apply for other jobs because we’re trained in teaching.”

About nine graduates approached the Prime Minister’s office on February 11 to share their grievances. “We were told that they would get back to us on February 15 but it did not happen.”

After they did not hear from the prime minister’s office, the graduates met the members of opposition on February 19.

Opposition member Dorji Wangdi who met the graduates took to Facebook and said, “They have met the Education Minister but it has borne no fruit. Request for appointment with Hon. Prime Minister has been put but to no avail yet. I have advised them to still pin hope on meeting the PM and exhaust the process. Hope the government will address the issue most expeditiously and of course, most wisely and positively.”

Soon after, the prime minister’s office on its official Facebook page posted that due to prior engagements the graduates could not meet the Prime Minister on February 11. The post claimed that  officials had formulated a formal application processes for the representative and directed them to the grievances cell.

“Having informed the grievance cell on the issues, the representatives were explained on the grievance redressal system and the time for systematic working process due to the cross-sectoral involvement,” the post states. “The grievance cell has since then met with officials in the education ministry and the RCSC. The Ministry of Education and the RCSC are working on the formal contract-recruitment of the BEd graduates.”

According to the annual education statistics 2018, on average, about 3.6 percent of teachers in public schools leave the profession every year. A total of 355 public school teachers left the profession between 2017 and 2018. Of these, 263 teachers voluntarily resigned, 60 superannuated, 7 compulsorily retired, 10 left after contract, and 15 separated from service due to death and termination.

Yangchen C Rinzin