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A dilemma facing trained teachers

For the 200-something trained teachers waiting for jobs, the Royal University of Bhutan’s recent announcement to take in an equivalent number for the two teacher-training colleges must have hit like unpalatable joke on their misery.

The question they might be asking is why train more teachers when they are not recruited. At a glance, it seems like a double irony – to train more when the trained ones are not recruited, and not recruit them when there is a huge shortage of teachers.

This is how many view when it comes to recruitment in the civil service. It is not restricted to teachers alone. We have a shortage of engineers, doctors and IT personnel, among others.

There is a rapid change we are caught up in and there is a growing demand for professionals in all areas. But the civil service cannot take in all graduates or trained teachers to fill in the vacancies at one go. The vacancies in the civil service will continue to shrink. It is also not fair and professional to fill all the vacancies in one year. There could be brighter and better minds graduating every year. Where will they go?

For the trained teachers, one argument is that a huge number of teachers are leaving the profession annually. There is indeed a huge gap. But filling that gap at once is not fair, especially to students.

Not to deride the quality of B.Ed. graduates, the demand for professionals in the education system is the call of the day, as we keep saying that the “standard of education is going down.” Through the civil service entry exams, the best of the graduates are selected. The rest, even if they manage the minimum criteria, have to wait.

We also know that all our teachers are not motivated by the thought of education. A majority are teaching because of the need for a job or because there is no better alternative. It is no more the “noble” profession the first generation of teachers saw it as. It is one way of getting to the civil service.

In other fields, graduates go on to look for other jobs. To be fair to the teachers, the government and the civil service should look into some of the issues. Going by the graduates, they are not allowed to apply for other jobs. Private schools could be one area where the government could intervene. The number of private schools, at all levels, is increasing every year. They need teachers, trained teachers. Some schools recruit teachers without any experience.  Teaching young children needs trained teachers. In fact, experienced teachers say it is easier to teach higher classes.

The new 195 intakes will be trained the same way. It is now for them to wonder if there will be job waiting for them.  New areas like the 25 in physical education and sports coaching are likely to land a job. What we need is a pool of practical and suitably trained professionals.

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