The Bhutanese impact
The Dzongkha language teacher Tshokey, of Budhashi Community Primary School under Goshing gewog, Zhemgang, has been sent on compulsory retirement effective from November 20, 2012 after an internal investigation by the Ministry of Education confirmed that he had used a syringe to poke students.
The decision was made by Human Resource Committee (HRC) of the Ministry of Education (MoE) during their recent meeting.
The issue of the Dzongkha teacher poking multiple students with the same medical syringe was first brought to light by this paper in an issue on 17th October 2012, generating public outrage and also concern for the students.
Subsequently the MoE sent an investigation team headed by the District Education Officer which interviewed several parents and students and confirmed the use of the syringe. A report on the issue recommending compulsory retirement was sent to the MoE.
The errant Dzongkha teacher will now have to quit his job with immediate effect and end his career as a contract teacher but he can walk away with certain entitlements like his gratuity under the National Contract Teacher Agreement (NCTA).
The HRC found that the teacher had breached the National Contract Teacher Agreement in punishing students by poking them with a syringe.
Medical personnel from the Dzongkhag are currently in the school and are doing a thorough check up of the students to check for any potential diseases transmitted by the same syringe used to poke many students.
MoE officials said that if any future complications arise due to the actions of the teacher, the government will take care of the students. “The government will bear all medical expenses and the treatment will be done with full support from the government,” said a HRC member.
According to the World health Organization, the use of an unsterilized syringe on multiple occasions can lead to the possibility of dangerous diseases like HIV Aids, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Further medical literature showed that students are at risk of contracting Sepsis and can die through air bubbles.
According to one of the members of HRC, the official report by the investigation team has confirmed that such a mode of punishment was used. “Although his intention was clear, yet the means of punishment was very barbaric and there is no way the Ministry can protect such employee,” he said.“Although the HRC committee delved on the issue intensively, we went by the recommendation,” he said.
The issue first cropped up when one of the parents of affected child complained to local authorities this year. The issue was brought to the notice by parents expressing their concern over such an unethical and dangerous punishment. They said that if it continued unabated, it would risk their children contracting diseases.
Parents alleged that only four out of 80 students in the school were spared the syringe. Accordingly, the gewog authorities dispatched the Tshogpa of the affected chiwog to confirm such allegations. The Tshogpa reported back confirming that the punishment of students, by poking them with the same syringe, has been going on for some time.
This paper ran the story on October 17. All the parents of the victimized children, The Bhutanese talked to unanimously agreed and stood their ground about the teacher using the syringe. In addition to the parents local authorities including the Tshogpas of two affected chiwogs and the gewog Gup confirmed all the facts.
The MoE team visited the school in question, verified the accusation by taking statements from Principal, affected parents and local government authorities.
They also verified the accusation on basis of the evidences present in the form of physical marks and wounds.
After completion of the investigation and having found that the accusation booked against the teacher was true, they submitted the report to the concerned authorities. In the report, they spelt out all charges and possible reprimands.
Hailing from Trongsa, Tshokey was recruited in two years ago in 2010 under ‘Light Drukyul Project’.