To deprive children of an education is a crime: PM

Midterm Review 3 March, 2011 – Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley warned all parents, who send their children to baby-sit for a wage, and employers, who keep them, of dire consequences.

The issue came up when the Khaling gup said that primary enrollment in his gewog was 96 percent during the mid term review of Trashigang dzongkhag. The gup said that four children from his gewog had left for Thimphu to work as maids or baby sitters.

“If children of school going age are employed to look after babies and maids, it’s a crime,” Lyonchhoen said. “Therefore, the parents and employers would be punished. If the gups allow this to occur knowingly, they’re also criminals. You must always keep this in mind,” he told the fifteen gups of Trashigang dzongkhag.

“If we (government) discover children working as maids and not attending school at the end of 2012, then the gups would be as equally liable for punishment,” Lyonchhoen warned. “If the gups are strict, such practices wouldn’t take place.”

Lyonchhoen said that, if children do not go to school and work as maids, there is no future for them. “If they’re not educated, then they wouldn’t have any option, even if the employers treat them with cruelty, but to remain a maid throughout their lives,” he said. “Let’s not allow such a thing to happen.”

Parents, employers and the gups would be charged, if children from the gewog are baby sitting instead of going to school.

Lyonchhoen said that all school going children should attend school or non-formal education as their right until the tenth standard.

Education is considered one of main activities to address poverty in Bhutan, besides electricity, drinking water and irrigation, roads and mobile connectivity.

The dzongkhag had also asked schools to enrol overaged children.

By Tshering Palden

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