Currently the government, the politicians, the parents and even the students are concerned about the deteriorating quality of education in Bhutan. And I too agree that the quality of education, especially in the field of language (English and Dzongkha), has slid down a lot.
Of course, it might be the same with other subjects as well. We have not been able to detect the fall. Perhaps, the plunge is less overt to notice as yet. For an instance, writing an application is found very difficult for the tenth grade students today.
Perhaps, there are lots of factors playing part in weakening the quality of education in Bhutan. I personally believe that the quality of education should begin from our teachers – the very source of good education. Lack of competent and enthusiastic teachers could be the main reason for the decline of competence in language and other subjects.
No matter how best the facilities are in place, the quality of education will never improve if we do not have competent and dedicated teachers. Thus, I feel it may be wise of us to try to comprehend our teachers first before embarking on anything to mend or fix the quality.
Teaching is not an easy task. The real task of building a nation rests with the teachers. We need competent and enthusiastic people in this noble profession.
But the prevailing income and entitlements for the teachers is far less than they ought to be. This results in competent people opting out of the profession. Teaching is onerous and difficult. One has to stand persistently in front of the class for the whole day.
The skills and the knowledge required of teachers are significant. However, most of our teachers are in the field with mere BE.D certificate. Unlike in other professions, teachers get fewer study and practicum opportunities, which is totally conflicting with the teaching profession. I suppose that teachers require more study programmes like training, workshops, and seminars.
Moreover, the teachers serving in the remote places of the country require lots of refreshment courses. Thus, I would like to draw the attention of not only the authorities concerned but also of all the people of Bhutan to be aware of the condition of our teachers prior to commenting on the quality of education.
The authorities concerned should understand that there are some teachers in the remote schools who have not ventured out of the community, let alone out of the country, in their entire career. There are others, who choose to remain the remoter schools of their own volition because it is less hectic and peaceful. Still there are others who desperately try to get out of the remote backwaters but fail.
All those teachers are more concerned about their livelihood than their profession. All these concerns need to be taken into consideration while address the quality issue. If the concerns and grievances of teachers are not addressed, whatever plans and policies the education ministry make to improve the quality of education, it will still face formidable challenges. After all, it is the teachers who, at the end of the day, walk into the classroom and teach.
First, they need to be properly trained, educated and competent. Equally important is that they need to be motivated. Otherwise, there will always be a missing link. Qualification matters, but motivation equally matter. For quality education, all factors must harmonise.