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It is our spending habits that make us rich. And Bhutan as a nation has shown that spending it the right way for the right people. They have set the standards for governmental spending by elevating teachers and medical professionals to the highest strata of salaried people in the country.
In the U.S., among public employees, the football coach of a college is perhaps the best paid in the state. Nick Saban, a football coach takes in a whopping $11.1 million a year. And teachers are way down the totem pole. The state ranks a miserable 40th in America, with an average teacher taking home just $50,000 each year. At the top is NewYork but it is still only $86,000 per year. Business Insider reported that the situation is “alarming” in the U.S., with teachers having to turn to alternative methods of making money. There have been strikes by teachers in recent times.
On the medical front Dr. Gary Green, Clinical Professor at SUNY Health Science Center in New York takes in $750,000 annually. We can safely assume that most taxpayers prefer their highest-paid state employee to be either a teacher or a doctor. Bhutan, the tiny mountainous nation sandwiched between India and China and with just 750,000 people has shown where their priorities lie by elevating medical staff and teachers to the ranks of the highest-paid staff in the government sector.
This will influence a large percentage of their population. There are around 8,700 teachers and around 4,000 medical staff in the country working under the government, as reported by Indian Express. The Bhutanese have rightly called it a “revolutionary hike”. They called it a “wow factor”.
The Cabinet led by Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering in its final pay revision made teachers, doctors, nurses, and medical staff the highest earning civil servants in the nation.
The country rightly believes that good teachers lead to good students who will be at the forefront of building the nation. Teaching had so far been considered as the last option in the country. Naturally, the brightest students have not opted for teaching as a career. And it is always the best and the more experienced who have left for more lucrative private jobs. Teaching and the medical profession have seen a high rate of attrition lately and this move is sure to reverse that. Both these professions are stressful and demand long hours of work. At the same time, they are denied the perks enjoyed by other civil servants.
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Bhutan is a nation that lays great store by happiness. This nation gives more importance to Gross National Happiness than Gross Domestic Product, as declared by Jigme Singye Wang, the 4th King of Bhutan. The concept lays stress on an integrated approach towards progress and lays equal importance on 9 non-economic aspects of well being, including education and health. It has since then influenced Bhutan’s economic and social policy.
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Teachers will get a major raise after this law becomes effective. Teachers with up to a decade of experience will get a 35% hike, those with experience up to 20 will get a 45% raise. Teachers with experience above 20 years will get a hike of 55%. Professional performance will be factored in too.
Medical staff will get pay hikes between 45 and 60 percent, reports the Financial Express. The Bhutanese government has officially stated that this will make teachers the highest paid civil staff in the country. Credit for this goes to the prime minister Lotay Tshering. He is also a reputed surgeon, and loves his work, saying that operating de-stresses him, he told The Guardian.