Bhutan never ceases to surprise. A country that gives more importance to in Gross Domestic Happiness than to Gross Domestic Product has decided to revise the pay scale ensuring overworked teachers get the same grade and on par with others.
Now Bhutan Teachers will be the highest paid civil servants. The cabinet had announced the decision on June 5, 2019. As per the new salary hike, teachers with zero to 10 years of experience have been given a 35 per cent professional allowance, whereas a teacher with 10 to 20 years of experience has been given a 45 per cent allowance and 55 per cent has been given to teachers with experience above 20 years. In addition, as per a Bhutan Professional Standards, 10 per cent allowance is given to a proficient teacher, 15 per cent for an accomplished teacher and 20 per cent for a distinguished teacher.
The hikes by the cabinet of Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a doctor who still practices medicine at weekends, departed radically from recommendations by the pay commission. The lowest rungs of the civil service, who include support staff like drivers, will see a hefty 36 percent pay rise and get retirement benefits for the first time and rent allowances. Tshering, elected last year promising to improve the country’s health and education system and reduce inequalities, however will get just a six percent rise.
Pema Yangki, a teacher from Paro, a rice-growing district in western Bhutan, said teaching was a tough job and the revision was a huge motivation to everyone in the profession. “Now we can proudly say that we are teachers,” Pema Yangki said. For many individuals who seek employment in the civil service, teaching is one of their last options and they will only join the profession if they do not qualify for other posts. Yangki said this is likely to change now and it will also help retain experienced teachers in the sector. The Buddhist kingdom is in many ways a case apart, benchmarking itself on happiness instead of economic growth, focusing in particular on protecting the environment.
As per the new salary hike, teachers with zero to 10 years of experience have been given a 35 per cent professional allowance, whereas a teacher with 10 to 20 years of experience has been given a 45 per cent allowance and 55 per cent has been given to teachers with experience above 20 years.