Except for a case or two, thromde and dzongkhag education officers have not received any requests from teachers to cancel their extraordinary leave (EOL) and resignations.
During the press conference on July 6, foreign minister Dr Tandi Dorji, in response to the Opposition’s post-parliament comments on the pay revision, said that the thromde office is flooded with teachers and health workers who have availed EOL rushing back to join work.
“This is because we’ve raised the salary and incentives,” lyonpo said at the press conference. “The quality of teachers and health is poor right now because they did not get the attention they deserve and I was one of them, we’re trying to undo what they’ve done.”
Lyonpo said that although the decision to raise the salary in these two important sectors was appreciated by both local and international media, it would take a while to see the impact on quality at home.
However, Lyonpo claimed that the government is already seeing the impact on retention where many people are resuming service and those who have decided to resign are returning to their jobs.
“We’re already seeing that the pay hike has renewed interest to join these two professions and it’s hard to explain when people ask how it will improve the quality of health and education,” Lyonpo said. “However, we would require one or two years to see if it brought about any positive impact.”
Thromdes and dzongkhag education officers Kuensel talked to said that besides some rumours, there is nothing concrete to show that the teachers are willing to return from the EOL or have shown any indication of cancelling their resignations or EOLs.
Many said there is excitement among teachers about the recent pay hike but it is all hearsay that those studying abroad are trying to return after completion of EOL. While few dzongkhag officials shared that some teachers have already put up their resignations recently indicating that they won’t be returning after completing the EOL.
There are however, few instances such as in Pemagatshel where one of the teachers recently cancelled his resignation after the revised salary was approved but another teacher applied for resignation.
Another teacher applied for resignation in Bumthang recently while a teacher couple cancelled the EOL for unknown reasons. In Dagana, a couple teacher resigned because they got through the civil service examination.
Samtse saw two teachers already returning to work from EOL while one teacher from Chukha has requested to cancel the EOL although it is uncertain if the reason was the pay hike.
Many said that those who already planning to apply for EOL are still considering to take the leave and shared that the impact, if any, of the pay hike would be seen after six months or before the new academic session.
This is because the teachers are usually encouraged to apply for EOL or resignation before the beginning or end of an academic session.
A few teachers Kuensel talked to living in Australia shared that although there are talks that they would return, two couples there shared that they have put up their resignations.
The government endorsed 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 was also endorsed 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.
Yangchen C Rinzin