Following a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office, Teachers of Bhutan Volunteers (VTOB) organized a vital online reunion among more than 4,000 teachers on Telegram App where many expressed their gratitude to His Majesty for leading the fight against COVID19, and discussed how they could contribute even as they adopted the new normal.
Talking about the challenges faced by VTOB, the founder of VTOB a teacher from Lobesa Lower Secondary School, Sonam Norbu said that VTOB saw more opportunities than challenges, “We were supported by everyone and it was a beautiful moment to have teachers come together to give beyond our normal mandates.”
After the government set up the new normal in the country, VTOB still uses various online platforms, especially Telegram and Facebook.
According to VTOB, they have different platforms and groups to discuss, plan, and share among the volunteer teachers. In the VTOB group, there are more than 4,000 teachers and there is also a focal person at the 20 dzongkhags and four thromdes.
The immediate plan for VTOB is to scale up and reinforce awareness to support the nation to fight against COVID. For this VTOB has come up with 11 strategies which will help the nation.
The first strategy is posters and videos where teachers will create, share, and use posters related to COVID-19 through online class groups as well as other social media platforms.
There is also SIM Book Distribution Awareness where teachers will create awareness on COVID-19 and teachers will reinforce the communities and children by distributing SIM books. Even the teachers will continue to create awareness through online class platforms and reinforce some cases.
For reporting suspects and abnormal happenings teachers from VTOB will be extra cautious and will study, report, and monitor unhealthy practices. They will also be helping the society in times of abnormal happenings which may pose a threat to the society.
VTOB will be creating community awareness by visiting homes and circles of people; they will visit students, teach, use masks and reinforce safety measures.
“Awareness for students on teenage marriage, pregnancy, and other social issues will be a priority,” said Sonam Norbu adding that COVID can cause students increased vulnerability. “The teachers have a moral duty to look after the students.”
VTOB will continue to support and share on Sherig Counselling Services and also work on the mental health support of children. The teachers will consider the psychological safety and guidance of the children.
Teachers from VTOB will also explain the notifications and information bytes from relevant sources to make sure everyone is on the safer side. Further, they will sensitize about fake news and rumors and help people be more responsible in dealing with current times.
In the new normal, teachers from VTOB will share, explain, and advocate on the new normal through different mediums.
“Keeping COVID at bay is a collective effort, and there is no room for carelessness and complacency”, said Sonam Norbu adding that everyone must stand firm in solidarity.
Sonam Tashi from Thimphu