Even though the pay revision Bill, which proposes the lion’s share of allowances to teachers, gets endorsed, teachers could get their additional allowance based on the Bhutan Professional Standards for Teachers only next year.

The government proposed teaching allowances ranging from 35-55 percent based on the number of years served. The Pay Commission had recommended revision of teaching allowance as lump sum amount of 20 percent of the new basic pay for all position levels irrespective of the number of years served.

An additional allowance is also recommended based on Bhutan Professional Standards for Teachers (BPST). The additional allowance recommended is 10 percent for those categorised as proficient, 15 percent for accomplished, and 20 percent for distinguished.

However, this allowance would be implemented only after the education ministry categorises teachers according to the BPST, education minister JB Rai said. Although the BPST was launched on May 2 this year, the categorisation would be implemented only by 2020.

He said the 35-55 teaching allowance, would however come into effect next month soon after the parliament endorses it.

According to the proposed recommendations and along with the additional allowance, a senior teacher with more than 30 years experience would receive 55 percent raise and an additional allowance of 20 percent as “distinguished category,” taking the total revision to 75 percent.

“Although the BPST was launched, there are many procedures we’ve to carry out before implementing it and that is why we’re not ready right now,” Lyonpo said. “Teachers would’ve to wait to avail the additional allowances, which is why this specific condition is mentioned in the pay revision that allowances should be applied subject to when the ministry is ready.”

Lyonpo added that the work has already begun and the ministry targets to categorise teachers by 2020. Consultations with teachers are underway to frame tools to categorise the teachers. “We’ll have to see how many teachers actually fall in which category and then implement the allowance but we have budget for the allowance.”

As per BPST, there are four career stages, which would determine the basis to distinguish the professional growth of teachers throughout their careers.

The standards are – beginning, proficient, accomplished, and distinguished teachers.

According to the framework, beginning teachers have attained a minimum professional qualification from teacher education institutions for entry into the teaching profession. Proficient teachers independently apply effective teaching strategies, classroom management skills, and the use of learner assessment data. Accomplished teachers consistently display a high level of performance in their professional practices while distinguished teachers are role models who exhibit the highest standard of professional practices.

The categorisation would be based on seven standards, which are further divided into 37 focus areas. The seven standards include a diversity of learners, learning environment, content knowledge and pedagogy, planning and teaching, assessment and reporting, personal growth and professional development, and professional engagement and Bhutanese values.

The BPST would measure the competencies and practices of teachers to improve the quality of education while earlier the teachers were only categorised based on the number of years they served.

Education secretary Karma Yeshey said that although the standards were launched, the ministry needs to orient and develop tools, which is why a team from Teachers’ Professional and Support Division are already conducting national focus group discussion workshop.

The secretary said that the consultation, which is being conducted across the dzongkhags and four thromdes, would gather views, opinions regarding BPST, and assessment of standards.

“The consultation is to develop tools and methods on how to go about measuring the competencies based on the BPST’s indicator keys. Once completed, we’ll start implementing the BPST and then categorisation would come into effect by 2020.”

The consultation is expected to see the sample size of about 112 teachers, 84 principals, dzongkhag education officers and throdme education officers. Two rounds of national validations were also conducted capturing views from about 4,000 teachers.

Meanwhile, some teachers Kuensel talked to said that although it is a good move to standardise teachers, they are hoping that it does not turn out like individual work plan (IWP).

Some shared that it could create controversies because the ministry would be categorising an individual on different standards and some may not be happy with the decision.

“Now that these standards would bring in additional allowance, we hope that teachers are not disgruntled when placed in one of the standards,” a teacher said.

Yangchen C Rinzin