An atrocious crime

Feed our children well

It’s been three months since two students died and 31 became very ill at Orong HSS due to chronic vitamin deficiency.

It’s been three months, and finally, last Friday, the education minister announced his response to the disgraceful state of nutrition in our schools. First, the the education ministry has submitted a proposal to increase the school feeding stipend from Nu 700 to nu 1000 per month. Second, the ministry has formed a task force to investigate what happened and to assign responsibility to those involved. And third, the education and health ministries have decided to work together to identify nutritious food, provide medical check ups, and resume the supply of vitamin tablets for students.

The education minister is correct in calling the Orong HSS deaths involuntary manslaughter. Two students died tragically, and as many as 31 students were taken seriously ill. But many more students would have suffered by not having the minimum amount of micronutrients in their diet. And that would mean that their mental and physical development has already been compromised.

We cannot allow this to happen. We now have proof that our children in Orong, but also in other schools, do not have the minimum amount of micronutrients needed for the healthy development of their bodies and minds. Allowing this to continue – that is, depriving our children of essential micronutrients – would now amount to an atrocious crime.

Here’s Tim Harford telling a story about how Archie Cochrane, a prisoner of war during the second world war, identified vitamin deficiency among his fellow prisoners of war, and how he secured the vital vitamins for them.




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  1. this is a typical response of government..sit on a problem that is evident & defer resolving it, hoping it will go away..then when something tragic happens, pay lip service to it & start something to try & resolve it..
    the education sector, like the health, is in a mess..unfortunately, thakur powdyel & zangley dukpa are not the sharpest knives in the box to tackle the malaise affecting these 2 vital sectors of bhutanese society & governance..they are no good at all for the public interest & are only good as stooges of the arrogant pm jigmi thinley..

  2. Kelpazangla says

    This is something evidential failure of the DPT Govt Ministers. Thakur Powdyel has proven his inefficency. He must be charged. OL, if you do so, citizens will gain faith in you.

    This is one point I have full support to you, OL!

  3. tenzin wangmo says

    I too think Thakur is not a doer, he is a perfect stooge of the mighty PM.

  4. I still remember those hungry days. Breakfast was so little that we would finish it three seconds after the tomchey was over.About four students suffered from TB and the principal blamed this on environment not being favorable to these guys.
    When I a student, there were lots of issues regarding the embezzlement of our stipend by the mess teacher. According to the rumor, it is still going on.I changed three schools and in all these schools embezzlement was there.
    It is one major contributor to nutrient deficiency in school meals. I think we need to probe this issue too and prevent such things.

  5. The education minister would be known for the two I’s which are Inept and Insensitive.

    He is inept because of orong and other 101 issues facing the education sector.

    He is insensitive because he is forcing kids in thimphu to wear ghos instaed of tracksuits for games days.

  6. Ha ha ha…if it truely is ‘involuntary manslaughter’ then someone must take heat for it. But seems the blame game is going on still. Where is culprit? Where is the detective work going on? Is the process ethical?

  7. Pel Yeshey Gempo says


  8. Zokpachhenpo says

    Mere policy and Official Gazette doesn’t help combat such problem as the foodings in schools and institutions in our Country is really really poor.
    Who has visited those kitchen and inspected the School mess genuinely?
    Which Cooks are trained for cooking in schools?
    They are illiterates. Please try to send those cooks for relevant training as well for betterment of their cooking capability. Capability here i mean and includes cleanliness, nutritious foods, quality control, food hygiene etc…
    Having done so, if the problem remains same then, i bet there is some problem with running of the mess and that vividly shows the weakness of the school administration…

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