KP Sharma

When the media reported 338 teachers with 10 years’ experience or more resigned and left their profession within the 10 months of 2023, parents and students worried that it would affect students’ academic performance.

Such resignations of experienced and senior teachers became a concern for the education system expecting it to hamper the quality of education.

Many expressed concerns that the growing shortage of seasoned teachers would leave schools across the country with an experience gap or there would be shortage of teachers teaching class ten and twelve students in the long run.

However, the recent board examination results for class 12 and the common examination show no major drop difference or decrease in performance compared to previous years.

The class 12 performance witnessed only a marginal decrease of 0.71 percent last year compared to the previous year, signalling an opposite message to the prevailing public opinion.

Director general of the Department of School Education (DSE), Karma Galey said that the ministry had to explore various alternatives and implement different strategies to ensure minimal disruption for students, despite the challenges posed by the increasing number of teachers leaving the system.

He said that the results reflect the concerted efforts made by the education ministry for the welfare of the students.

According to the ministry, schools facing severe shortage of subject teachers were supported and encouraged to conduct classes during the mid-term break, utilising experienced teachers to cover content and lessons.

The ministry created online materials and the promotion of technology-based learning as an alternative to mitigate the impact of teacher shortages on student learning.

Stressing on the availability of these materials online, officials said that parents or guardians could also play a role in guiding their children’s learning at home.

The ministry further mentioned that last year, most teachers left their profession only towards the year-end or thereafter, by which time a major portion of the syllabus had been covered.

To address the challenge of teacher absence, the ministry, in consultation with the RCSC, also empowered the dzongkhag to recruit contract teachers as needed, expediting the recruitment process.

A teacher in Thimphu said that while the current results may not show a difference, the potential impact could come in the future.

Schools, as much as possible, he said, attempt to allocate experienced teachers to teach terminal classes of 10 and 12, while contract teachers were assigned to teach classes with home examinations.

He said that whether there is adverse impact or not will become evident in the coming years when students taught by untrained teachers sit for the board examinations.

“I do not mean to belittle those teachers, but the difference will be obvious,” he added.