MoE plans Master's degree for all teachers

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Master's degree for all teachers remain challenge

With all the teachers in the country mandated to have a Master’s degree, questions have been raised about the viability of such a huge task.

However, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is confident that the vision is not unachievable.
Education minister Norbu Wangchuk said the ministry is working on a detailed plan and is in consultation with universities to upgrade teachers’ degree. This will involve all colleges in Bhutan, especially the education colleges in Paro and Samtse.

“In 10 to 15 years, most of our teachers will have a Master’s degree,” said Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk.

From July this year, 72 teachers have been undergoing a two-year Masters of Education program at Yonphula Centenary Institute of Education in Trashigang and Samtse Education College.

They comprise 40 teachers studying M.Ed. in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics (10 each in each subject) in the Samste College of Education and32 teachers undergoing Masters of Arts in English in Yonphula Centenary Institute of Education.
According to Chief Program Officer, Teacher Professional Support Division (TPSD), MoE, Tashi Lhamo, the ministry in collaboration with the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) is already working towards upgradation of teacher’s qualification to Master’s degree.

“It is possible for all the teachers to have Master’s degree. We are working on it and to start with we need to plan well. Right now we are focusing on language and science subjects. Soon we will explore other subjects like history and social science,” said Tashi Lhamo.

According to the Annual Education Statistics, the total number of teachers as of 2016 is 9,081 with 8,297 teaching in government schools and 784 in private schools.

Of the 8,297 public school teachers, only 1,074 (13%) teachers have a Master’s degree. Around 4,696 teachers have a Bachelor’s Degree and about 15% have a PG Diploma. A small percentage of teachers (0.3%) have a Class X or XII certificate and only 0.1% of the teachers (5 teachers) have a doctoral degree.

This year beginning, MoE started Masters in Contemplative Counseling Psychology for two years under mixed mode program; 16 teachers are pursuing the course.

Various mixed mode program is conducted only during the winter vacation.

Under mixed mode program, there is M.Ed in Leadership and Management for principals and vice principals. M.Ed Dzongkha, a three year course for general teachers started in 2014 in Paro College of Education.

In the past five years 140 teachers have got their Master’s degree.

However, this year, the education ministry proposed to Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) to have a regular program instead of mixed program.

Chief Human Resources Officer, MoE, Kinley Gyeltshen said there are a lot of assignments and a three year course for winter vacation is too much for the teachers. “We want our teachers to continue with their studies without any long gap in between. We want our teachers to focus only on their studies,” he said.

But according to him, it is very difficult to get trained teachers as replacement.

“We get only general graduates who are not trained. Although we give one week training, it is not enough,” he said.

He further stated that next year, because of change in recruitment timing by RUB, the ministry is not going to get B.Ed graduates in 2018. “It is going to make matters worse in terms of getting trained teachers,” he said.

Meanwhile, MoE is framing a proposal to RCSC to tackle current teacher shortage by recruiting contract Teachers.

“We found quite a number of teachers going for study leaves, extraordinary leave and resigning voluntarily. We have no other choice but to recruit contract teachers; it is the only solution we have right now,” he said.

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