Bhutan’s national newspaper – Kuensel – reports that around 56 Bhutanese students claim they were misled by an education agent who sent them to Malaysia on a study and work program. The students have asked authorities in Bhutan to look into the matter.
The students say that Bhutan based education agent, Best Placement Agency (BPA), guaranteed that they would be employed for two years in Malaysia after completing their diploma course. They allege that when they got to Malaysia there was no guaranteed employment.
The Best Placement Agency has sent 92 students on the earn and learn program in Malaysia since October 2016. Most of the students enrolled in a two year diploma course at SG Academy in Malaysia. It offers diplomas in mechatronic technology, computer systems, creative multimedia, food and beverages and culinary arts.
Two students, Sangay and Tsheringwho, who have returned to Bhutan claim they were detained by Malaysian Immigration for 11 days because they were caught working illegally, without realising they were doing anything wrong.
We went to Malaysia through BPA because the agent was licensed by the labour and education ministries. We trusted the agent.
An unamed BPA employee interviewed by Kuensel rejects the student’s claims:
We are governed by the guidelines of the overseas agency under the department for employment of the labour ministry. Why not take me to court if there is something illegal? Or take me to labour ministry if there is something illegal because the labour ministry will always protect them. Why is the media being used if they feel we have done them wrong? From our side, we are answerable to the students, the parents and the ministry.
Bhutan’s labour ministry is looking into the matter. Chief Programme Officer, Chhoeki Penjor, said that officials met with Sangay and Tshering, and with Best Placement Agency. “We have asked the agent to submit documents and respond to the issues the two candidates raised.” he said.
Eight students recruited for the same study and work program in Malaysia were scheduled to fly to Kula Lampur on December 3 but have now withdrawn their applications.
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Photo by Azlan Baharudin on Unsplash