What is the difference between teaching certificate and teaching licence? The confusion seems to have resulted after media reported some days ago.

As trained professionals, teachers come out of the colleges with the licence to teach, said education minister Norbu Wangchuk.

It appears that it was just a suggestion  a teacher will require teaching licence besides a certificate, which was included in the education blueprint and human resource plan.

“Teacher licensing is not a priority and this will definitely not be there in the 12th Plan,” Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said. “More than the licensing, teacher empowerment is considered a priority.”

The 12th Plan will focus on teacher development initiatives, according to Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk.

Retaining good and experienced teachers is seen as more important.

“This is why the ministry doesn’t have separate plan to require teacher licensing system in the 12th Plan,” Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said.

Among the teacher development plans in the 12th Plan, new teachers entering the system must have master’s degree from the teaching training colleges. This, the minister said, was to ensure that new teachers who enter system are committed and competent.

“This will involve raising the quality of new teachers through several initiatives, including preparation in the education colleges,” he said. “The need for a master’s degree was also announced by the Prime Minister in the Parliament and was endorsed by the Education Tertiary Board. Plans are being made.”

This means by the second year of the 12th Plan, there would be no intake of class 12 graduates in the teacher training colleges.

“Teachers would be selected from among the graduates, who will then be sent for two years master’s programme to become a teacher,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that about 350 in-service teachers would undergo master’s programmes in Samtse, Paro, and Yonphula annually.

Selection will be based on Dzongkha and English language proficiency test.

A teacher standard is also being prepared, which will involve various skills sets needed to be a teacher. It would also serve as a guide to design the curriculum. Lyonpo said that this would help address teacher shortages and unemployment situation among graduates.

“The trend used to be that after B.Ed, a teacher left for higher studies, creating a shortage in the system. This will not happen from now,” he said.

Teachers would be provided 80 hours of professional development training annually. A budget of Nu 400 million has been allocated professional development programme in the 12th Plan.

“Streamlining teachers’ workload and initiative such as appointing adequate support staff, delegating power to schools to appoint substitute teachers, and allocating adequate teachers in the schools would be a continued to enable teachers to spend sufficient time for lesson planning and assessment of student work,” Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said.

The plan also includes housing 80 percent of teachers inside the school premises.

Lyonpo said that this would enable teachers to engage in school programmes and other student development programmes.

Besides a laptop each for all teachers, school would also be provided with better computer labs, Internet connectivity and other ICT facilities.

Yangchen C Rinzin