The four day 18th National Education Conference concluded with two Sherig Pledges to the Prime Minister: “Safe sanitary pads for every girl student in Bhutan” and “Drama festival to promote Performing Arts in schools”.
Lyonchhen said that in a year’s time they’d have started with drama festivals in schools.
“Before we use to have Shakespeare drama performances in English, Dzongkha and Choekay, today we have dancing and singing,” the PM said. “Looking at some of the girls dancing in high schools, I sometimes feel ashamed. We can dance but at time do concentrate on drama performances.”
On Safe sanitary pads for girls students the PM said that men might not know how women or girls suffer during their monthly period. He said some girl students do not go to school when they have periods because of pain and lack of access to safe pads. “This indirectly hampers their education. I am more than happy with the initiative by the ministry and I thank them for the wonderful initiative,” the PM said.
The Education minister said that maximum of girl students use rags and washable pads which is not advisable and unsafe. “There is also the issue of absenteeism in schools due to monthly period and with this project or pledge in place, we will be able to manufacture our own sanitary pads and make it available in every school,” the minister said. “The manufacturing machines are affordable and can be operated easily by the students.”
Sonam Choden, 28, said she is happy to hear such pledge. “As a student I had to use rags as pads which led to lots of missed classes and fear,” she said.
Tshomo, a class XI girl student, said that being in an urban area she did not face much difficulty because of easy access to sanitary pads but she understood how the challenges girl students in rural areas face in access to pads, lack of knowledge and confidence in sharing the matter with the teachers.
“I think this is such a wonderful initiative by the government and I salute them because they know the trouble and suffering that every girl go through such times,” she said.