Students and parents call for re-investigation into ‘Learn and Earn’ program

The representative of the parents and students of the ‘Learn and Earn’ program in Japan has submitted an appeal letter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to reinvestigate the case Monday.

In a six page submission, it stated that though ACC has implicated the former Labor Minister and the Director General of the labor ministry for corruption, it did not hold the owners of Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO), JurmeyTshewang and Tenzin Rigden, responsible for exploiting the unemployed children by charging excessive amount in miscellaneous fees despite taking Nu 57,000 per student as agent fee separately.

The representatives of parents and students recommended the ACC to reinvestigate on the over charged fees levied on the students by the language schools in Japan and it be crosschecked with the fees paid by other foreign students from Nepal, India, Vietnam, China, among others.

The other recommendations included looking into commission from the work place, including a percentage of student’s wage by the Japanese counterpart, the awarding of air ticket contract of all the students to one ticket agency, Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited (BTCL), without tendering, and the overcharging of visa processing fee and agent fee.

The letter also outlined disappointment over the previous findings of the ACC investigation and stated that the commission’s recent findings to be incomplete.

The letter also mentions about Prime Minister Dr. LotayTshering for not rising up to the occasion and underplaying the situation of the students.

“What was even more disappointing was when the new Labor Minister called this tragic incident ‘a little problem’. As concerned parents, we do not wish our children to be the next ‘little problem,’” stated the letter.

“In wake of such lukewarm response from the government, whose best solution to the crisis is deferment of loan repayment, we have no other choice but to submit our plea to ACC, which in it all essence stands for truth and justice. We appeal to Dasho to look into the matter with a sense of urgency, as we are seriously concerned about the wellbeing of our children,” states the letter.  

Talking to Business Bhutan, the Offtg ACC chairperson, Jamtsho confirmed ACC having received the “Appeal Letter “ on January 21. “Although it’s an appeal to the Commission it will still be treated like any other complaints and go through the review process,” he added.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu