…MoE lumbered in implementing the rule

Choki Wangmo

In recent years the number of teachers of both private and government schools in urban areas providing tuition to students for monetary benefits has increased by manifold.

Many teachers advertise tuition opportunities on social media sites and some even have created group forums to encourage parents to send their children for tuition after school.

This practice and open declaration of the service contradicts with the education ministry’s policy guidelines and instructions 2012 that prohibits tuition. The decision was first brought to light during the sixth education conference in 2002. 

The ministry even issued circulars after parents complained, reasoning that tuition classes for monetary reasons deterred teachers from proper service delivery, and that rule was applicable to principals, teachers, contract teachers, community-based teachers, physical education teachers and counsellors of both public and private school.

Many parents are now asking whether the education ministry is implementing the rule or if it was just framed to show there is a rule.

A parent, who chose to remain anonymous,   said that providing tuitions had become a moneymaking business among teachers in major towns.

“The trend is worrying for the students from disadvantaged families. They might be left out.”

A parent said that teachers were most of the time attentive to only those students who took private lessons from them. 

A corporate employee said she had to question the intentions when her niece’s Mathematics teacher persuaded all parents and guardians to send the students for tuition. “What they don’t understand is that some students may not be able to afford the fees.”

The director general of Department of School Education, Karma Tshering, said that the notification was valid and if the complaints were genuine, the ministry would take action according to the teacher’s code of conduct and civil service rules.

“We will record the offence as misdemeanour and it will affect their assessment and promotions,” he said.

Meanwhile, a teacher in one of the schools in Thimphu said she gave tuition classes two times a week after school hours. Each session is two hours. She earns Nu 1,500 per month from each student. The number of learners varied according to the subject, parents’ willingness and affordability.

Although the teacher said that the lessons did not affect her daily routine in school and even helped her earn extra income for the family, the government should do away with such rampant practices.

“I think it should not be allowed and there should be strict monitoring from the ministry,” she said.

According to her, children from well-to-do families can afford but students from low-income family face difficulty in paying the fees. 

Similarly, a teacher from another school in the capital said he used to give lessons in the past but only during winter and summer breaks.

He said the workload was heavy during academic sessions. 

A teacher in a remote school said that he saw the ministry’s notification once but had no idea if it was implemented. “In remote schools, we have teacher shortage and there is no time for tuition classes. We are always in a rush to cover syllabus.”

He said that teachers in towns had time as a result of ‘one teacher one subject’ while primary schools in rural areas have only about three teachers according to the ministry’s teacher enrolment policy. “The policy’s teacher-student ratio is 1:22 but in our school, it is 1:40. There are loopholes.”

Parents and concerned individuals can lodge complaints to the ministry or inform the school principals and dzongkhag education officers if they find any teachers providing tuitions.