Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
The number of teachers either resigning or taking Extraordinary Leave (EOL) from various schools in Chukha and Samtse has been increasing in the past few years worrying administrators.
Officials don’t know why the teachers choose to leave. However, their colleagues say that most of them left for better options, which include leaving for Australia.
From 2018 and 2022, 43 teachers took EOL in Chukha, according to records with the dzongkhag administration. They included contract teachers. A total of 27 teachers resigned during the same period. Eight of them resigned this year alone.
In Samtse, 41 teachers including those on contract resigned between 2020 and 2021. This year alone, 21 left the job.
Although dzongkhags are allowed to recruit substitute teachers, there is a growing concern about the availability of trained and experienced teachers.
The chief dzongkhag education officer (CDEO) in Chukha, Ngawang, said the dzongkhag could recruit substitute teachers.
However, he added that getting experienced and trained teachers was an issue. “While we may be able to regain the numbers, the quality of teachers cannot be guaranteed.”
Ngawang said that not all substitute teachers are trained or experienced. “This is the primary concern,” he added.
The CDEO also said that the resignation of each of the teachers had come as a surprise to the dzongkhag education office. He said that the office would not know who would be resigning until a teacher submits his or her resignation or EOL as soon as the visa is approved.
Samtse’s officiating CDEO, Kinzang Wangchuk, shared similar concerns.
“The quality of teaching gets compromised when experienced or regular teachers leave,” he said.
He said that no one was able to predict who would be the next to leave the job and move abroad. However, he expressed his confidence that not many would leave the profession.
He also said that Samtse currently was not facing an acute shortage of teachers. Primary and lower secondary schools, he said, did not face serious problems although middle and higher secondary schools could face some shortages.
“When experienced and specialised teachers leave, we don’t get substitutes easily,” Kinzang Wangchuk said. “Overall, we are doing good. The dzongkhag administration has been very supportive.”