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Education Minister condemns use of children to fetch firewood to use as energy in region 8 – 5th Jun 2013

shot0004Education minister Priya Manickchand faced the media this afternoon to send a strong message to her school administrators that they must not use children as shown in a local newspaper in the School Feeding programme implemented by her Ministry.

The newspaper article showed schoolchildren reportedly from the Kato Primary School in region 8, fetching logs and carrying them to another location. Minister Manickchand said that monies have been budgeted for the school feeding programme, but there was a signed agreement with the community that parents would donate firewood from time to time, but at no time were children to be the transporters of the firewood. The Minister said that while it was good for the press to bring the article to her attention, in her opinion there was a sinister move behind the report, since she was not convinced that efforts were made to contact her to correct inaccurate information she says is contained in the article.

Minister Manickchand said that the person with whom the newspaper spoke obviously has another agenda since he should have known that the use of the firewood was not a daily occurrence. She said the Ministry would not condone any such activity during school hours.

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