Our teachers are confused. They are confused with reason. But Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk has made it plain what is what. And this is important.

The whole confusion erupted because of half-baked media reports that came out some days ago. Teachers do not need teaching licence because they are professionals who are trained to teach.

But then, if the ministry could not give the right information, it should take the blame. Clarity is what we need.

The whole mix-up seems to have come from the suggestions made by the educationists that were included in the education blue print. If the suggestions made that were included in the blueprint must be followed, the measures are too shortsighted. They are, in fact, roundly antithecal to the ministry’s vision of retaining teachers, good and seasoned ones at that.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that teacher licensing was not a priority and this issue would definitely not be included in the 12th Plan. “More than the licensing, teacher empowerment is considered a priority…This is why the ministry doesn’t have separate plan to require teacher licensing system in the 12th Plan.”

As we are told, if teacher development is at the core of the ministry’s initiative to improve quality education in the country, we could start with the requirement of a master’s degree for all teachers, but where do we go from there? What does it even mean?

Where we are and where we need to be, this has been the challenge that we could never quite rightly figure. Education, in this nation, has to look down at its feet this day and rise to the challenges like youth unemployment, which is at the heart of the national problem that we often sadly comfortably downplay it.

Our teachers should all have master’s degree to teach, why not? But the real question we must ask is how do we keep our teachers in the system. This is the challenge. Are we getting our priorities right?

We are happy that a series of teacher development initiatives are in the offing. Our teachers need all these, and more. Making our classrooms more engaging in terms of teaching-learning process with enough teachers who will dedicate their service to the education of the nation’s future is more important than some small peripheral dressings in the system.

What we need in our education system today is enough and dedicated number of teachers. And this means looking beyond qualification of our teachers.