With about 119 schools in the country without principals, some teachers have been officiating for decades. In many schools, decisions could not be made because the officiating principals do not have the authority.

The schools are left without principals not because there is dearth of leadership or because the teachers are not interested. Education ministry’s policy that mandates those intending to be principal have a masters degree is the main hindrance.

Local leaders in Dagana were vocal. They proposed the education ministry to revise the policy. The ministry’s human resource committee that framed the policy should have realised this long time when they found the policy was not serving its intended purpose.

Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations do not have such criteria for other professions vying for leadership positions.

 The main problem with such criteria is that it is set by officials in Thimphu who do not understand the problems of not having a principal in schools in remote areas.

If the vacancy of a principal is not filled because the schools are in rural areas, the ministry cannot just leave it there. It has to motivate principals to serve in remote areas by rewarding them through other incentives like promotions or some weightage in interviews. Schools in rural areas deserve competent and qualified principals. Our rural children need motivated principals.

Teachers who have officiated for decades and are passionate deserve the opportunity.

For the ministry, the criteria was set to encourage teachers to take up the masters of education in educational leadership and management the ministry initiated in Paro College of Education.

Teachers should take the opportunity to upgrade their qualification and hone their leadership and management skills, but lack of a masters degree should not stop anyone from becoming principal. Leadership quality of a person is more important than academic degree. Having a masters degree will not guarantee good leadership.

Principals play an important role in motivating teachers and students. They are the cornerstones on which learning in a school functions and grows. An effective principal will provide vision for the school.

His Majesty The King has issued the Royal Kasho on education and we need principals who could implement changes and facilitate adoption of new teaching practices.

Let us remind ourselves that all the knowledge in the world will not make a person a good leader. It is the passion and love for the work and children that will make the difference.