Private schools should obtain information on selected teacher candidates from the education ministry and get its clearance before employing them. 

This decision, deliberated during the 242nd HR committee meeting last year, comes after the Thimphu dzongkhag court sentenced a vice principal to 10 years in prison for molesting girl students and attempting to rape of a child last year in a charity school in Thimphu. The vice-principal had been convicted of the same offenses in 2004.

It was observed that the school was not aware about the vice-principal’s past records due to gaps and loopholes in recruitment process of teachers in private schools.

Chief Human Resource Officer Dhendup Tshering said although the Teacher Human Resource Policy 2014 applies to private schools, the HR division does not have a role in the recruitment and selection of teachers, as private school division is under the Department of School Education.

He said the HR division needed to devise ways to maintain essential information even if the files may be disposed of.

“It was decided that cancellation or revoking of profession training certificate should be done only by the authority that has issued it,” he said, adding the ministry could issue a letter stating that he or she could no longer practice the profession in school system due to criminal records.   

Dhendup Tshering said it was also decided that ministry would be the only point of contact for private schools to seek past records when they recruit teachers.

“Labour ministry should also seek clearance from education ministry for teachers joining the training institutions. The committee also felt the need for Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) to review the issuance of security clearance certificate and cooling-off period for convicts.”

The ministry has already written to the RBP seeking clarification on the process. The decision was taken to let private school division frame a statement in the private school operational guideline.

In terms of monitoring, Dhendup Tshering said that for the new appointment of teachers, the ministry would verify criminal records of the individual with RBP to make sure that only those university and B.Ed graduates without criminal records are recruited.

“The private school division would also sensitise private schools to seek clearance from the ministry against the selected candidates prior to their appointment,” Dhendup Tshering said. “The ministry has also recommended writing to Royal Civil Service Commission to verify criminal records with RBP against teacher candidates before their appointment.”

He said that before appointment of National Contract Teachers in 2018, the ministry wrote to RBP requesting to verify criminal records. Those who had such records were disqualified, irrespective of the degree of offence.

Private school guideline stipulates that private schools should have a stringent HR planning and implementation.

The Office of the Attorney General has recently appealed against the sentence of the dzongkhag court’s judgment. 

Yangchen C Rinzin