KP Sharma

During the question-and-answer session in the National Assembly,MP Choki Gyeltshen from Maenbi-Tsaenkhar constituency raised the concern that officiating principals are overwhelmed with tasks due to the absence of support staff and administrative assistants to help them carry out their duties.

According to Choki Gyeltshen, the new education policy which mandates that officiating principals must oversee primary schools with less than 100 students has posed challenges to the principals.

In addition, the lack of sufficient support staff and the absence of a requirement for administrative assistants in schools with officiating principals have exacerbated the workload and pressure on the principals.

Choki Gyeltshen stated that historically, primary schools with less than 100 students were also entitled to have both principal and an administrative assistant.

He pointed out that in the past, the extended classroom (ECR) with classes from pre-primary (PP) to class three was under the supervision of an officiating principal.

The MP said that such issues have caused inconveniences for both the teachers and principals.

“The government must address this issue because we already don’t have enough teachers and burdened leadership may deteriorate the quality of education,” Choki Gyeltshen added.

Choki Gyeltshen added that principals are often transferred from these schools, and if they deny the transfer, it could potentially impact their promotion later.

In response, Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that the ministry has proposed to deploy autonomous principals in all primary schools regardless of the number of students in the 13th plan.

Lyonpo explained that the issue arises due to the shortage of teachers in the country, which leads to the current challenges in appointing principals from within the pool of teachers.

“Officiating principals have the dual role of teaching and managing the schools,” Lyonpo said.

To help these principals in primary schools, Lyonpo said that the government plans to increase the number of teachers in the next plan.

Lyonpo also mentioned that the ministry is considering appointing principals from outside the teaching profession to address the shortage of principals.

Regarding the risk of deteriorating education quality owing to the multi-tasked responsibilities, Lyonpo defended that there remain no differences in the students’ performance between the schools with autonomous principals and officiating principals.