Teaching differently

Team teaching – a new pedagogic method practiced in urban schools to address classroom shortages and high enrolment; two teachers teach one class; while one teaches, the other monitors the class and helps students; the two teachers share homework correction duties. This week, Kuensel wrote about “team teaching” being introduced in Thimphu schools.

Multigrade teaching – a pedagogic method practiced in community schools to address teacher shortages; one teacher teaches several classes together, in the same classroom; that teacher teaches all the subjects for all the classes; and that teacher does all the homework correction, for all the students. Last week, Kuensel wrote that community primary school teachers are required to do “multigrade teaching”.

The two Kuensel articles, published one after the other, in two consecutive issues, are disturbing. Together, the articles indicate that our rural schools face a shortage of teachers, while our urban schools could be having excess teachers.

Yesterday, BBS reported exactly that.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Yeah I agree with you la. Thats the straight forward truth! As far as I am concerned, both ways are not commendable.

  2. soul asylum says

    your excellency,

    it is quite amazing at times that you can keep track of almost everything that has implications on the lower rungs of the bhutanese poplulace(mostly the 35% of those below the poverty line in rural areas). their only chance to see the light of the day is education. education is their only hope of progression in life meaning their childern’s future..while the urban schools seems to have excess teachers there is dearth of teachers in remote places..for instance,,in Rangtse school in Gakiling, there is only one teacher teacher all the grades in the comunity school. now that there is harship allowances for the teachers working in remote places,,,MOE doesnot have any justifiable reason to still retain the excess teachers in urban schools…lets see what is being done to address this issue….

  3. Dear Lynpo

    I ahave written so many comments and questions to you through your blog, yet I have not received any answers, which made me feel that you just write what you think and never go through the comments writtens by people. At times I see good comments and at time bad comments where one needs to be explained, so let me anyway hope for the best.

    My question is you write so many article in your blog which are mostly useful but do you think people who does not like you read your Blog? Do you have any other means to let the Government hear your voices? Are Actions taken accordlingly? I know you at one time ignore reading the forum in the intrenet so you really do not know what people write about you. It might be the same thing with people working for the government. They might avoid reading your Blog.

    Thanks and good luck, prepare to be the Next PM of Bhutan.

    Karma Mindu

  4. Tshering Tobgay says

    Dear Tashi (Karma Mindu)

    A copy of every comment comes to my inbox.

    So yes, I read every one of them.

    And yes, I take them seriously. Especially those that are critical of my views.

    I’ve chosen to limit my comments so that I don’t intervene unneccessarily and to encourage public debate.

    I’ve taken up several issues with the government. But we obviously need to do more. I’ll be doing some follow-up posts.

    Thanks for staying in touch.

  5. what a strategy to mute the voice of the voiceless permanently by our great strategists!!!

  6. For someone like me it isn’t surprising that ‘team teaching’ is emerging in urban schools. Let’s take a closer look at the scenario.

    The rural scenario:
    Large number of schools (65.8%, with 64.3% catering for primary level education) and relatively small student enrolment (35.3%, with 32.4% in the community primary, primary and lower secondary schools)

    The urban scenario:
    Relatively small number of schools (34.2%, with 21.3% catering for primary level education) and large student enrolment (64.7%, with 33.7% in the community primary, primary and lower secondary schools)

    So, in both the scenarios the teacher need is equally pressing. In the rural areas, because of the large number of schools… In the urban areas, because of the large student enrolment…

    What are the major teacher related issues (quantitative only) we are faced with currently (and since eons)?


    1. Most do not like to opt for teaching, therefore, the number of teachers that the colleges of education produce on annual basis do not match up to the required number owing to the faster increase in the number of schools (particularly rural community).
    2. Most do not like rural (and particularly difficult) postings, therefore, many of them find a means of getting themselves posted in urban areas. From this point of view, supply of teachers may be urban biased.
    3. How do we ensure we fulfill both the rural and urban needs, if the teacher supply itself is low? (But, is it?)
    4. How do we even fulfill the school needs 100% knowing that the posting of married female teachers is dependent on the posting of their husbands? (toughest issue at hand)

    Now, let’s take a closer look at the Education statistics (MoE, 2008) accessible to us. If we compare the class-wise enrolment (primary level only) in rural schools and urban schools, we will notice much smaller numbers in the former. While it is still a luxury to have a class size of even 30-40 (with 20-25 as the ideal size), below 10 in a class is surely too luxurious. In fact, the teacher:student ratio of 1:10 would be a luxury even in developed nations. Therefore, in such a situation it is wise and cost effective to adopt ‘multigrade teaching’. However, since it was adopted (internationally) for single teacher single unit small schools in the first place, it can be expected not to work if adopted in large classes. That would then become an issue.

    Whereas, ‘team teaching’ at the lower primary level in urban schools is a necessity due to the large class sizes. I would not look at it as urban schools having excess teachers. If we believe that urban and rural schools should have equal number of teachers by ‘the principle of distributive justice’, then our tendency would be to compare on this basis and conclude that there are excess teachers in urban schools. But, if we believe that teacher deployment should be as per individual school need (on the basis of student strength), then it is obvious that teacher strength would vary across schools and regions. And, given the highly significantly larger student enrolment in significantly smaller proportion of schools in urban areas, the need for teachers seems equally (if not more) pronounced in urban areas, as a school cannot be expanded unlimitedly therefore resulting in crowded classes and the consequential rise to shift system and team teaching. I am, in fact, proud of those schools that have used their autonomy to come up with possible solutions rather than resorting to complaints and attacks and waiting for the system to do something.

    The bigger issue we are faced with here is whether there is a mechanism for fair deployment of teachers. If schools and district education officers got together annually to review their teacher need and forwarded their requisition (genuine) to the Ministry and the Ministry respected that and made arrangements for supply accordingly after some verification, a lot of the teacher shortage issue could be resolved. And, frankly, much of the problem within each district can be solved to a great extent by the districts themselves (even without the interference of the ministry). Have a closer look at the teacher:pupil ratios. In community schools alone, they range from 6 to 121, with the average at 30. Whereas, in urban primary schools alone, 18 to 61 with the average at 29. And, in rural primary schools alone, 9 to 89, with the average at 31. So, there is scope for adjustments within each district, isn’t there? But, even this is inhibited partly by the tradition of posting of married female teachers to where their husbands are posted. (Can this be changed??? Tricky, huh …)

    So, I would actually say that the issue of excess and shortage of teachers needs careful analysis …………

Leave a Reply to soul asylum Cancel reply