After months of running from pillar to post, there is movement to employ them at last

Education: The education ministry is working on recruiting the 235 unemployed B.Ed. teacher graduates on contract, to replace the community-based teachers in phases.

The decision to replace community-based teachers with trained teachers comes after Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay called an emergency meeting and directed the Ministry of Education (MoE), Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Gross National Happiness Commission and the labour ministry to review the B.Ed. graduates’ issue and come up with immediate solutions.

Of the 417 B.Ed. graduates from the two teacher training colleges in Samtse and Paro, RCSC took in only 182.  This is the first year that B.Ed. graduates are in surplus.

Following the directives, the education ministry is working on proposing that the RCSC recruit teacher graduates on contract.

The ministry’s chief human recourse officer, Kinley Gyeltshen, said that they had written to RCSC to recruit them at the earliest. “We don’t know how many of them would be taken in,” Kinley Gyeltshen said. “The RCSC will decide the numbers.”

There are today 285 community-based teachers, whose contract expired in 2013 but are still continuing with their job.  Education officials said the community-based teachers were taken in after class XII and are not trained.

RCSC’s director, Dorji Tshering, said the education ministry has to work out its subject-wise requirement of teachers in the dzongkhags before it takes in the graduates on contract. “We’ll be able to tell the numbers only when the ministry gives us an accurate and complete picture of its requirement.”

The unemployed B.Ed. graduates recently met the opposition leader (OL) to share their grievances.   Some said they had to approach the OL after their options to appeal exhausted. “We approached the RCSC with recommendation of the prime minister, who then directed us to see the MoE,” one of the graduates said.

While some graduates have already started looking for work in private schools and corporations, many are waiting for the education ministry and the RCSC’s solution to their problem.

A B.Ed. secondary graduate from Samtse College of Education, said that, until the civil service results were declared, there was some hope of being recruited.  She said that hope was dying now.

“Every time we approached the RCSC and education ministry, they told us to wait and we’ve been waiting for almost two months,” the 23-year-old said.  “Why don’t they just tell us if we’ll be recruited?”

Tenzin Namgyel and Nirmala Pokhrel