Around 500 students stand ready to file the case soon
With the case against Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) underway, the ‘learn and earn’ program is now strictly under the scrutiny of the government, with officials visiting Japan recently.
Nearly 500 youth have given signed power of attorney to file the case against BEO, especially after the survey findings done by the parents’ representatives during their visit to Japan earlier this year. According to the parents’ representatives, there is enough evidence against BEO to file a court case.
While the case submission is ready, consisting of 15 files of testimonies, power of attorney, findings of the parents, agreements, evidence and miscellaneous files, the case will be filed as soon as the bar council issues the license to the lawyer.
However in order to furnish some crucial information, an online survey was done last week with the students enrolled in the learn and earn program. The parents’ representative and committee lawyer, Ngawang Tobgay, said the findings are to be used to supplement the case against the agent before the court of law, and to serve timely updates of the case to all the concerned youth. The new set of online questionnaire contained of 11 questions that was answered by 220 students so far. Of the 220 students, 89.5 percent of students said they are not contended with the government’s decision to defer loan repayment solution. 94.1 percent said they cannot repay the loan on their own.
While 45.9 percent of the total 220 students returned home, 65.9 percent of the students reported the problem to the agent. 96.8 percent of the total student said the agent has not responded to the problems while 45.5 percent of the students informed the labour ministry about the problem.
On their wish to continue the ‘learn and earn’ program, 93.6 percent voted ‘no’, and subsequently 96.4 percent do not want to avail themselves of such a program in future.
Ngawang Tobgay said that while the Chapter 10 of the Regulation on Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agent, 2013 of the labour ministry mandates the agent to cover the return expenses back home, 98.2 percent of the students alleged that the agent has not covered their return expenses.
Rating the program on the scale of one to ten (1-10) wherein one being the worst and ten being the best, 88.6 percent has voted for the scale of one to four.
Meanwhile on the recent visit by the government officials to Japan, Ngawang Tobgay said the positive side of the visit is that the government officials have met with the officials in Japan, and is working on providing better jobs to the students in Japan to resolve the issue. “By that, we are clear that the agent doesn’t have the capacity to give jobs to all the students.”
Ngawang Tobgay said, “The survey questionaries of the government only mentions about the earning and job status but not about the expenses,” adding the overall questions do not address the real problems faced by the students.