With the Ministry of Education deciding not to renew contracts for the National Contract Teachers (NCT) and Regular Contract Teachers (RCT) in some schools, the worry is that there could be an acute shortage of teachers in schools.

Replacing them with trained and regular teachers is a good option, but how do we guarantee that they will stay in the system?

In all sectors, in all departments, and in all agencies—government and private—the problem is continuing loss of human resources, talent and skills.

Thimphu Thromde alone has received at least 51 applications for voluntary resignations, excluding EOL, so far. Some schools like Phobjikha Central School in Wangdue have been functioning without a principal or vice principal.

There are two sectors where Bhutanese going to Australia or better-paying countries will have a very detrimental impact—health and education. Doctors and nurses too are leaving in droves.

At a time when Bhutan is trying to give a leg up to STEM and other vital subjects for a more solid picture of Bhutan’s future, these developments are antithetical. The efforts and dreams are meeting at a difficult crosswind.

There is a big change happening in the country today, which is good. The education sector, however, seems to be lounging about. The impact is going to be serious. Good education and better-paying job has lost relevance in Bhutan—Bhutanese are ready for competition on the global stage because doing so gives them at least some sense of security.

Simply put, Bhutan’s economy, Bhutan’s policies, and Bhutan’s ambitions are not meeting in one place. And we are losing professionals who stand a good chance to succeed in other countries.

If we had a system that recognised talent and paid civil servants and employees in the private sector well that could ensure them a safe future, as simple as home ownership when they retire, Bhutanese professionals have little reason to fly abroad.

Bhutan will continue to lose talent so long as the country cannot bring about serious social reform. The civil service shake-up is a new beginning. There is much more we need to do, and very quickly.

Disruption is good, but it will truly be appreciated for what it is only when it really brings the much-desired change. The change young Bhutanese professionals need is a safe and secure future.