Teachers: How do we keep them in the field?

Good teachers make good schools. Good schools produce good students. But then, sadly, so much depends on the system itself. We may have good teachers who walked into the campus with the dream of preparing eager young minds to confront the wider world with skills, knowledge and confidence that they require. But they do not stay. Something must be going utterly wrong the way we kill the passion of our teachers.

We talk about the quality of education falling. No one factor is responsible for it, though. What about curriculum that may not be relevant for our children anymore? What about the workload and morale of our teachers? What about student-teacher ratio? While the education policy says that a teacher should teach a class of 24 students, it has been found that our teachers teach classes of between 35 and 50 students. What about benefits they enjoy, meagre pay besides?

Once again our lawmakers and educationists are bringing education and teachers to the limelight. We know that there are problems in the system. We know, too, that remedial measures must be employed. Maybe we should stop addressing or redressing certain small sectors of the problem and begin looking at it holistically. Changing curriculum and not paying our teachers well won’t help. Neither will there be any benefits to be had if we increase workload of our teachers, lessening the required instructional time in the classrooms. A report has found that our teachers work about 57 hours a week, while the policy says that teachers’ working hours should not exceed 22 hours a week.

And what about how we recruit our teachers? As some National Council members suggested, maybe we should raise entry qualification of trainee teachers in the two colleges of education. Trainee’s attitude and aptitude could also be included in selection criteria.

Our teacher morale will always suffer if we do not make teaching an attractive profession, which will lead to teachers leaving the profession. How do we do this? It is worrying when teachers, especially seasoned teachers, are leaving the classrooms for better prospects somewhere. For education to succeed, we must look first at the teachers. How do we keep them in the field?

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Quality of education falling is probably not same a situation as need for quality education is falling. First case is a challenge for any teacher or education system. The second case, if not attended to, can lead to numerous diseases in any system of education.

    Today in another post, we have discussed a few valid concerns with private school fees. But even a private school involves serious capital investment for creating the entire infrastructure. Maintaining the same is no cheap business and moreover; we also acknowledge the fact that many in the teaching field prefers the private schools for the better salary packages and other benefits.

    Only recently, we have also read about a few concerns regarding the sustainability factor of the newly constructed central schools. Education is probably one such thing that’s difficult to be called either a product or a service. If the schools can be considered a product of some kind, education is usually considered a service industry.

    Service delivery will demand the teachers to be in the field. Looking at this situation, we understand that it involves considerable costs for the benefits to reach the students. Even for the students, as they move to higher classes, self learning becomes a key process in all forms of education. Not of all of us can be equally good or bad when it comes self learning and it’s a challenging situation for any teacher.

    We have seen examples where technologies have been used and students are getting benefited from online learning programmes. Bandwidth Consumption and Internet Traffic is still not a concern for Bhutan at this stage. Many such digital learning materials can be locally stored and played in classrooms. And still, we need the teachers when we have the schools and the students getting enrolled in good numbers. To learn through teaching oneself is one skill that we don’t necessarily teach our students today. And still, only quality education and related training doesn’t always make quality teachers.

    If a teacher were to be considered some kind of a ‘software application’ in today’s information and technology enabled time; what should be considered the suitable hardware for them to be installed…the school, its education system or the students enrolled! It’s indeed rather weird to think like that, but an answer here probably can suggest us the ways to keep the passion of teaching alive in our teachers.

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