If there is one revered profession in Bhutan, it is teaching.  That’s why many parents advise their children, especially girls, to become teachers – a noble profession.

That was when jobs were aplenty and teaching was the last option for graduates.  In recent times, if there is one thing making headlines, it is the shortage of teachers.  The scenario has changed, suddenly, and now we have hundreds of teacher graduates, who will not be absorbed in government schools because the system is saturated.  Some are already looking for jobs in the financial institutes, not as teachers, but as development officers.

This is a problem.  There are hundreds of eager youth, trained and ready to start a career.   On the other hand, our governments, both past and present, have started a blame game.  There seems to be a solution, at least for the present graduates.  Lyonchhoen has asked relevant agencies and ministries to immediately look into the issue and find solutions.  The education ministry and RCSC will re-assess teacher deployment and come out with a decision to absorb some of them on contract.

But this is short term solution.  What will happen to those in the final year of their training?  There will be no more immediate solutions for them.  Like a few of them hunting for jobs outside teaching today, many will be left on their own, because we have forgotten to plan our needs.  The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), for instance, doesn’t know the teacher requirement for the next five years, which is crucial for planning.

Teachers are being trained at the expense of the government. Why do we waste our scarce resources to train teachers and then ask them, for example, to start a vegetable business?  They would become better traders or farmers if they were trained for that.

In the meantime, we keep hearing that the quality of education is falling.  The current scenario presents us a good opportunity for a relook into our teaching system and take advantage of it.   If there are excess trained teachers, we could go for specialisation.  Educationists have always pointed out that what we need are quality teachers and not just qualified teachers.

If the future of the nation is in the hands of the youth, the future of the youth is in the hands of the teachers.  Teachers have the responsibility of preparing our future generations for their lives and also for their responsibilities.  Numbers alone will not ensure quality.