Dechen Dolkar 

The education ministry will provide around 2,000 scholarships to students of private higher secondary schools in the 2022 academic session, the education minister JB Rai said yesterday.

The ministry’s plan is to enrol students in government schools and if required the ministry will send some students to private schools.

During the question hour at the National Assembly yesterday, Chumig-Ura MP, Drungtsho Karma Wangchuk asked the education minister how long the government will continue to provide scholarships to private schools.

In 2020, the government provided scholarships to 2,088 students in private schools, and this year 2,251 students.

Of 36 private schools, the government provided scholarships to 21 private HSS. Private schools have 12,000 students, 900 teachers and 500 supporting staff.

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said: “In the coming year as per the record around 2000 students will be given scholarships in private school.”

Lyonpo said that now many parents want to enrol their children in government schools rather than private schools worrying about the quality of education in the private schools.

“If private schools offer quality education, gradually the students will come. Government can also send teachers on secondment to private schools,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo’s comment  goes viral

Lyonpo JB Rai received much flak for his suggestion asking teachers to marry teachers to  address their transfer problems. 

Jomotsangkha-Martshala MP, Norbu Wangzom had asked the education minister how the ministry was solving the transfer problems of mostly married teacher couples.

As per the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2018 teachers have to serve a minimum of three years in their first placement.

Lyonpo said that the ministry developed transfer and placement guidelines last year, which was approved by Royal Civil Service Commission.

The guidelines include that they have to submit an online application for transfer before six months.  For a month they will be given three options to choose the place.

Lyonpo said that most of them wanted to come to Thimphu or nearby places.  The ministry has also approved transfers based on their marital consideration with seniority in the service in rural placements.

In 2020, the ministry has received 104 transfer requests on marital grounds and 58 of them have granted the transfer. This year of 153 transfer requests 99 were approved.

“There is a huge difference between the transfer of a teacher and other civil servants. If transfers are granted on request, there won’t be any teachers in five dzongkhags,” Lyonpo said.

“To solve the transfer problem if teachers could marry teachers,” Lyonpo said.

He said that most of the transfer requests are based on their spouse working in other ministries and they go after their spouses. “The House has to issue an order asking teachers to marry teachers.” 

Many poured out their disappointment on social media after Lyonpo’s statement.

Lyonpo said that in idle situation it is impossible, and on humanitarian grounds, this is the only solution to solve the problem.

“Let the people interpret this statement as they like it but it is important to understand the matter in its entirety,” Lyonpo said yesterday evening.