Teacher professional support division to be opened soon

The division will be responsible for the professional development of teachers

HR: To ensure that every teacher in the country receives need-based professional development (PD) trainings, the education ministry will soon establish a Teacher Professional Support Division (TPSD).

The Royal Civil Service Commission recently approved the creation of the new division after the Organisation Development exercise reinforced the need to establish one.

The division will ensure teachers keep pace with the change in time and keep them abreast of challenges and opportunities. The division will also look at licensing of teachers and accreditation and certification of INSET programmes.

To make sure that teachers adopt new methods, take various initiatives, undertake researches in order to make teaching-learning effective and enhance quality education, they will receive at least 80 hours of professional development.

Education ministry’s chief Human Resource Officer, Kinley Gyeltshen said professional development programmes would be delivered in a cascading method. At the national level, training of trainers (ToT) will be held. The trainers would be the Cluster Lead Teachers (CLT) who would in turn cascade to School Lead Teachers (SLT) at the cluster level through Teacher Resource Centre.

School Lead Teachers will then train teachers in their respective school through school-based in-service programme. However, there will also be a bottom up PD planning process where SLTs will submit the PD requirements to be addressed at the cluster level and Cluster Lead Teacher will compile, consolidate, and prioritise the PD programmes and submit to TPSD along with budget requirement.

The division will then compile and consolidate PD plans received from 60 clusters, prioritise and prepare annual PD plan and propose for budget. After obtaining the budget, it will be released to the resource centers for implementation.

The ministry will also facilitate the ex-country short-term programmes for teaching professionals based on fund availability, fellowships and scholarships.

“Lead Teachers will mainly drive the PD programmes at various levels but not for the sake of achieving 80 hours of PD per teacher,” he said. “It provides an opportunity for teachers to explore more avenues or opportunities for their learning with such a policy in place.”

CLT and SLT teachers are tenured teachers with excellent teaching and leadership skills. Each school with a minimum of 10 teachers including principal and vice principal will get a SLT. The SLT will coordinate and facilitate PD programmes at the school level and initiate action research in the school. They will also assist the CLTs in identifying the critical PD needs to be addressed at the cluster level. While SLTs will be appointed at P2 level, CLTs will be appointed at P1 level.

“CLTs and SLTs will be appointed from the existing pool of teachers. They will not be disconnected from teaching as they’ve dual responsibilities- teaching and PD,” Kinley Gyeltshen said.

The education ministry is positive about addressing  one of its long-term challenges of retaining skilled teachers after initiating the PD programme.

Kinley Gyeltshen said that in the past and even today, the ministry has not been able to cater to the PD needs of teachers, partly due to fund constraint and also due to lack of professionals such as lead teachers. It is also anticipated that with more opportunity to avail and even facilitate or resource the PD programmes, teachers would stay in the teaching profession and attrition would be minimised.

While RCSC is working out ways to cut down the number of civil servants availing extra ordinary leave (EoL), the education ministry encourages teachers to take initiatives to upgrade qualification, which is usually availed by going on EoL.

This policy partially contradicts with what the commission has been trying to minimize but Kinley Gyeltshen said the ministry supports those availing EoL to pursue further education.

There are also civil servants who avail EoL on domestic grounds. Should RCSC cut down the number of civil servants availing EoL in a particular year, it is expected to help the ministry to control movement and disturbances, particularly when a teacher avails EoL in the middle of the academic session.

As of April this year, about 100 teachers are on EoL.

Nirmala Pokhrel

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