More than 345 teachers have left the school system in the past six months. This has resulted in a severe shortage of teachers. Going by the number of Bhutanese leaving for Australia, it is a serious concern.

Between 2020 and August 2022, 710 teachers resigned from the system—504 teachers resigned voluntarily; 136 teachers superannuated; 37 took advantage of the retirement scheme; 30 left on forced retirement; three were terminated.

According to the education ministry’s annual report for 2020, the teacher attrition rate was 1.9 percent which increased to 3.8 percent. School leaders and education officials say that the trend is worrying and could have a direct impact on the quality of education.

Between January and June this year, 345 teachers resigned. In the past six months, at least one teacher from thromde schools in Thimphu put up resignation every day. Thromde schools are facing a shortage of more than 40 teachers. Concerned, the thromde education officials alerted the education ministry and the Royal Civil Servant Commission (RCSC) twice, calling for urgent policy intervention to retain teachers.

Finding immediate solutions will be hard but we cannot turn a blind eye to the problem that can have far-reaching consequences for thousands of children. Reportedly, some schools have not had STEM teachers since the beginning of the academic session. If contract teachers are the only option at this critical juncture, recruitment process must be sped up.

The system may find it convenient lounging about with its antediluvian rules and regulation but the schools cannot go on without enough teachers.

According to the education ministry, 39 teachers resigned in the past six months from schools in Punakha; 36 from Trashigang schools; 34 each from Paro and Samtse schools; and 24 teachers each from Thimphu, Samdrupjongkhar and Wangdue schools.

Our civil service system has not been able to catch up with the massive changes that have occurred in the way human resource is employed for better results over the years. There must be a major policy shift to effect a significant change. Experience pool leaving the country is not a good sign. Medals and accolades do little to inspire professionals in the sector.

There are some serious issues that we must deal with, urgently. Burnout, toxic and unfair working conditions and inadequate benefits are some of the cancers that are creeping into the system.