1,872 teachers have resigned in the last six years

Younten Tshedup 

At least 300 teachers have left the education system on average since 2016 from public schools annually. 

Out of 353 teachers who left their jobs this year, 224 voluntarily resigned.

According to the Annual Education Statistics 2021, an average of 3.6 percent of teachers leave the education system from public schools annually. The reasons for leaving include voluntary resignation, superannuation, and expiry of contract, among others.

This year, 54 teachers from public schools superannuated and 49 of them completed their contract term. Three teachers submitted compulsory resignations. Of the 163 teachers who left the system last year, the majority (112 teachers) resigned voluntarily, while 27 of them superannuated.

According to the Annual Education Statistics 2021, there was a steady rise in public teachers resigning until 2019 and a sudden drop in 2020. However, the teacher attrition rose this year once again when 353 public teachers left the system.

While the Ministry of Education’s report does not outline the specific reason for the high attrition rate, teachers say there were multiple factors behind leaving the education system.

A teacher in Dagana said: “Perks are not the only factor that holds teachers in the system. The location of the school is also a strong factor. Some of our teachers are not used to working in remote parts of the country and this could be one of the factors in their decision to leave.”

Teachers say that one important factor in choosing to remain in schools is leadership. “For a teacher, principals are their education system. The kind of treatment and respect we get from our principal has a major bearing on our performance, and the will to remain in the system and continue to teach.”

Another teacher from Pemagatshel said that heavy workload, the need to participate in all co-curricular activities, fewer holidays, and intricate education systems such as the Bhutan Professional Standards for Teachers (BPST) and Individual Work Plan (IWP), are some of the factors contributing to high attrition rate among teachers in the country.

Over the past six years, 1,872 teachers have left the system, of which the highest number were civil servants (1,374) and the lowest was from earmarked contract teachers.

As of 2021, there are 9,018 public school teachers in both primary and secondary schools.

Student dropout rates

Despite concerns over the impact of the pandemic on the number of school dropouts, 2021 saw a relatively lower dropout rate of 5.9 percent against 7.4 percent in 2020. The highest dropout rate of 5.9 percent this year was observed among students in Grade VII.

Since 2019, dropout rates have been higher among male students.

The Annual Education Statistics 2021 did not specify the reasons for students dropping out of school.

Edited by Tshering Palden