Lhakpa Quendren

As election canvassing heats up, more teachers are resigning to join political parties.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has not maintained the career-specific data of aspiring candidates for the upcoming elections.

However, many aspiring candidates appearing on social media are from teaching background.

Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) has to date declared eight candidates with teaching background. Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) has declared five candidates with prior experience in the teaching sector.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) refused to share the data.

Aspiring candidates with teaching backgrounds say that they have a genuine interest in politics and are motivated to contribute to the process of education transformation in the country.

DTT’s president, Kinga Tshering, said that if teachers are able to join politics and form the government, they could bring reforms in the education sector.

“We are very happy that a lot of capable and competent teachers are resigning and joining politics because education is one of the most important sectors,” he said.

He added, “For DTT, we are not counting only on educationists and teachers. We want to make sure that we have experts from various professional fields to develop and promote the economy.”

A former lecturer of Samtse College of Education, Ganeshman Gurung (PhD), who is a candidate with DTT, said, “To make the transformation effective and successful, there is a need to address issues related to policies, management, resources, curriculum, pedagogy, infrastructures and teachers, among others.”

A representative from BTP said that while it was true that the party has few candidates with a teaching background most of them have moved on to become administrators such as Dzongrab and Drungpa. “Some have even left teaching and started their own business. They aren’t teachers anymore. We have only one candidate who left teaching to join BTP,” the representative said.

Of the 22 candidates declared to date, 8 come from teaching background. “We have 25 more candidates to declare and we can assure you that BTP has candidates with diverse expertise and experience,” he said.

A former teacher aspiring to contest for National Council (NC) election said that teachers could take an active part in the democratic process. “This will significantly benefit the education policy formulation.”

Another NC aspirant said that teachers have broad ground experience. He added that while the number of students is increasing every year, the number of teachers decreasing is a serious concern.