To date, 252 civil servants were rated outstanding and 99 were rated need improvement in the education sector 

Individual Work Plan (IWP), a requirement for performance evaluation is necessary in education because teachers are part of the civil service where every individual is required to make a clear plan of action, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) chairperson, Dasho Karma Tshiteem said.

Teachers have raised concerns on the introduction of IWP saying that it was not realistic or relevant for the education sector. Following their grievances, the Prime Minister on May 15 issued an executive order commissioning a review of IWP for teachers.

Dasho Karma Tshiteem said that IWP is only a new terminology for the teachers, but the concept was only incorporated in the already existing practice of preparing yearly plan, block plan and daily lesson plan to meet the target of school improvement plan (SIP).  

“The SIP is based on the six key result areas of the school performance system of the education ministry,” he said. “A rigorous IWP exercise would only ensure alignment of strategic objectives of their agencies, making the individual performance appraisal more purposeful and effective.”

In fact, the chairperson said that IWP would now provide an opportunity for teachers to reflect their roles and contributions to activities that are in addition to their academic responsibilities.

“It also helps the principals to assess workload for every teacher and accordingly redistribute or reassign between academic and non-academic activities,” the chairperson said.

RCSC also carried out an extensive consultation with the education sector across the country and over 3,000 civil servants in schools, especially principals, teachers and dzongkhag education officers received the training on IWP.

“IWP was introduced throughout the civil service and whether teachers, doctors, or engineers, who gets paid by the government should have an IWP, which reflects what they’re going to be doing to serve the TsaWa-Sum,” he said. “It is to enhance individual accountability and to align their work to what their organisations  are trying to achieve.”


Why IWP?

The chairperson said that in 2014, RCSC carried out an exercise to assess the effectiveness and efficacy of the existing performance management system (PMS). It was found that all civil servants were rated outstanding and overall average performance rating was 3.82 on the scale of 1-4 across all agencies.

“This confirmed the widely held belief among civil servants that the PMS was indifferent to performance and irrespective of whether one works hard or not, one would get promotion when the promotion time comes,” he said. “It was also found that there were no clear linkages of individual performance output to organisational objectives.”

It was also found that all the performance evaluation forms for three years, were submitted just before the time of the promotion, to avail the promotion. The PMS was based only on individual promotions and not linked with achievements of the agency and the national objectives.

“Recognising that the PMS does not encourage and reward performers and identify non-performers, the RCSC instituted the revised PMS now called “Managing for Excellence” (MaX),” Dasho Karma Tshiteem said. “The system that links and aligns individual performance to the organisational objectives.”

MaX consists of four components, which incudes IWP, a form that has replaced the earlier performance evaluation forms. The teachers have to fill IWP forms from February to March while other civil servants will have to fill the forms from July to August.

The other components are mid-year review, end of the year evaluation, and moderation exercise (ModEx). The RCSC, he said, conducted numerous rounds of trainings and mock exercises to ensure that all civil servants understood the new approach for two years.

Apart from many advantages of MaX and IWP, the chairperson, said that it helps to align individual performance to the organisational goals, promotes a culture of planning, reviewing, monitoring and evaluation of work plan and performance targets every year, differentiates performers from non-performers, and provides greater ownership to agencies for promotions including meritorious promotions.


The ranking 

Based on the bell or distribution curve for every agency, the agencies have to rank the staff as outstanding, very good, good, and need improvement. The moderation committee then ranks civil servants according to the agency categorization framework (ACF) that is linked to APAs.

On if it is mandatory for an organisation to have at least one staff in the need improvement ranking as it has been understood, the chairperson said that it is definitely not true.

“It entirely depends on agency catagorisation framework, which categorises performance based on their agency’s government performance management system (GPMS) score and the school cluster performance score.”

According to the ACF, if an agency scores 95 and above, they do not need to identify anyone in the need improvement, he said. Only a maximum of two percent of the civil service have to be identified as “need improvement”, which means 98 percent or more civil servants, including teachers, will get their timely promotion.

Based on the above categorisation and identification by their superiors, some civil servants will get meritorious promotion for being rated “outstanding” consecutively three times and in the same manner, some civil servants’ promotion will be affected for being rated “need improvement.”

Records with RCSC showed that 16 school clusters out of 60 fell in category 1, which means the agency scored more than 95 percent and did not rate any civil servants in need improvement ranking. The rest that scored 85 percent and above has to have one percent of the staff under the need improvement ranking.

A total of 252 civil servants were rated “outstanding” and 99 were rated “need improvement” in the education sector to date.

For other civil servants in the financial year 2016-17, records show that 52 agencies out of 105 were in Category 1 where 334 individuals were rated “outstanding” and 119 as “need improvement.”

The chairperson said that earlier it was RCSC that decided who should get meritorious promotions to about 60 civil servants on average raising the question of transparency, but now the agency decides who deserves the promotion based on the performance.


The consequences 

Under the MaX system, it is mandatory for every civil servant to maintain IWP and if an individual fails his/her services shall be considered as inactive for promotion purpose only for that year.

They will then be subject to a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to help improve their performance. If an individual falls under the need improvement category for three consecutive years, agencies will have to compulsorily retire the civil servant from the service.

“Such a system is necessary to ensure that the civil service not only recruits the best and the brightest but also that non-performers are weeded out systematically,” chairperson said.

Yangchen C Rinzin