KP Sharma

In response to the teacher shortage across schools in the country, the Ministry of Education and Skill Development has announced to recruit teachers who had previously resigned.

This is the first time that such an initiative has been taken by the ministry.

According to the ministry, out of 521 initial applications, 101 teachers have been selected. The selected applicants will be appointed on a consolidated contract basis for two years or until reaching the superannuation age, whichever comes first.

However, out of 521 applications received, only 114 are from regular teachers; 13 applications did not make it to the final list.

The ministry clarified that only regular teachers were considered for selection, as the authority to recruit general contract teachers has been decentralised to respective dzongkhags and thromdes.

Private school teachers were not considered for this recruitment process. They have the option to apply for contracts within their respective dzongkhags or thromdes whenever vacancies are announced.

Teachers who have been out of the system for an extended period were also not considered for recruitment due to potential challenges that could arise from changes in the curriculum over time.

Also, teachers with past disciplinary issues were not considered for the position.

By re-engaging these former teachers, the ministry aims to address the pressing need for qualified teachers in schools across the country while simultaneously providing opportunities for individuals seeking to re-enter the teaching profession.

The reintegration of these experienced teachers who had previously left the profession is expected to bolster the teaching workforce, enhance continuity in education delivery, and contribute to the overall improvement of the educational landscape.

A retired teacher in Thimphu said that this approach could not only address the immediate challenge of teacher shortages but also recognise the value and potential of teachers who may have stepped away from teaching for various reasons in the past.

The appointment of new teachers is expected to ease the workload of current teachers to some extent, a move welcomed by principals and teachers alike.

For instance, Tshering Gyeltshen, principal of Lobesa Lower Secondary School in Punakha, said that although the school initially faced teacher shortage, the recent replacements improved the situation.

However, the school still faces a shortage of teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which often results internal adjustments such as pulling up primary teachers to teach higher classes.

According to Tshering Gyeltshen, about 21 teachers resigned last year, causing a significant teacher shortage in the school.

The principal of Dashiding Higher Secondary School, Kingzang Tshewang, acknowledged that the school initially faced a shortage of teachers.

With a consistent follow-up with the dzongkhag administration and the ministry, the school has managed to secure substitute teachers that have put the school in a comfortable place now.

Last year, five teachers resigned from the school and five more availed themselves of extra ordinary leave (EOL).

In addition to the regular recruitment of contract teachers by dzongkhag administrations and thromdes, the education ministry, last year implemented another measure to address the shortage of teachers and ensure education quality.

This involves recruiting expatriate teachers from India to teach STEM subjects.

According to education statistics, there are 10,546 teachers in the country today, compared to 10,472 in 2022, indicating an increase in the number of teachers in the country.

Despite facing a shortage of teachers, the country has managed to maintain a teacher-student ratio of about 1:15 over the last two years.

However, this ratio remains below the ministry’s requirement, as outlined in the draft education policy, which mandates a ratio of 1:18.


Position and remuneration

The newly recruited teachers will be placed in the last position before separation from the civil service, and their basic pay will be set at the minimum or starting pay at that position level before separation.

According to the ministry, a 35 percent allowance will be also paid on top of their basic pay.