Schools: Just as schools are about to reopen, Samtse dzongkhag presented to the cabinet that it was short of 116 teachers.
The status was presented and discussed at the mid-year review of performance agreement for the southern districts, which was held in Phuentsholing on February 12.
Samtse, Chukha, Dagana, Sarpang, and Tsirang dzongkhags presented their progress for 2014-2015 financial year.
Samtse’s dzongkhag education officer (DEO), Karma Sonam Chophel, said the teacher shortage figure was as per the findings of the Teacher Deployment Tool (TDT) 2014.  TDT is the study instrument that finds out the number of teachers required for a particular school.  He said the shortage was in comparison to other dzongkhags.
Citing the teacher-student ratio of 1:20 in Mongar, he said, Samtse’s was 1:27. “The shortage is because of the high number of extended classrooms (ECRs) in Samtse,” he said, explaining that teachers had to be deployed from parent schools to these ECRs. “The high number of ECRs affects the teacher-student ratio.”
There are 23 ECRs in Samtse and 32 schools.  Two teachers manage an ECR, he said
Inadequate infrastructure, the DEO also said, was another problem that contributed to the shortage of teachers. “There are classes in some schools that have about 60 students, affecting the teacher student ratio,” he said.
There are about 569 teachers across schools and ECRs in Samtse.
Lyonchhoen Tshering Tobgay said the dzongkhag had to look for new and better means of solving this problem, and propose them to the education ministry.
“There could be other dzongkhags with shortage of teachers as well,” lyonchhoen said.
If dzongkhags cannot find ways and means of solving the problem, lyonchhoen said, they must seek help and support of expertise from the education ministry.
Meanwhile, Samtse has already submitted the findings of TDT to the ministry.  The dzongkhag is also short of Dzongkha teachers, primary school teachers, and mathematics teachers.
By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing