Schools and students had to go through a lot this year. Having had to scramble, flounder and teeter with e-learning after early closing of schools on account of the Covid-19 pandemic the late opening of schools now has teachers rushing to wind up the syllabus.
The many interventions that we called for and put in place were the best we would come up with given the circumstances, but with exams just around the bend our hope is that all this haste will not bring us waste.
While we truly deserve a pat on the back for managing the pandemic well and keeping school and higher education running without serious disruptions, it seems that we somehow forgot what indeed makes a school and what it takes to educate our children. Hard as we may try, we cannot deny the fact that teachers are at the centre of education. However, many students could be looking at the approaching devil that is exams, nervously, because they did not have teachers for so long. Worse, they might not have one before the end of this academic session.
Dorokha Central School (DCS) in Samtse has been without Accounts teacher since September 21. The school’s principal has no choice but to wait because there has not been an answer from either education ministry or dzongkhag administration. Four months is a very long wait; the school reportedly submitted the concern to the dzongkhag administration in July.
Many questions arise. Was there really no option at all? In this day and age teacher shortage ought not to be such a serious problem. We have already tried our hand at e-learning and it works, albeit with some glitches here and there. Why did the school authority, the dzongkhag administration and the education ministry not see e-learning and teaching as a solution?
The more serious questions: why did dzongkhag administration and education ministry fail to respond to the school’s concerns? And how? Surely we cannot blame all this on the pandemic. It would be laughable if indeed Covid-19 shut them up so. On the side note, it is becoming quite fashionable among civil servants, planners and implementers to lay the blame on the pandemic for just about everything from family problems to project delay (even if that project was supposed to have been implemented way long before the advent of Covid-19).
It would be remiss of us, one that we will deeply regret, if we do not look for solutions concerning teacher shortage in some schools urgently because we are talking about the future and opportunities of thousands of children. About the situation facing the students of DCS the least the education ministry can do is supply the school authority with an answer.