My plan for Youth employment in Bhutan

Bhutanese People in Thimphu
Bhutanese People in Thimphu

Bhutan has a young population and more than 56% of Bhutanese citizens are under the age of 25. Bhutanese youth face a unique challenge of balancing tradition with modernity. Every year the number of drop outs have increased and Drug and alcohol abuse have become one of Bhutan’s biggest concerns for its youth which leads to unemployment. The youth unemployment rate for Bhutan according to World Bank report was 12.90 in 2009. The result of the 2009 Bhutan Labor Force Survey confirmed that unemployment in Bhutan increased to 4%, with more than 80% of the unemployed between the ages of 15 and 25.

Bhutanese government can encourage private and petty firms to be set up so that more youths will be inclined to work in such jobs which do not require much qualification skills and experience. Firms which sell food items or small grocery shops that plan in keeping young people employed with basic knowledge of calculations and those that are dropouts. Such jobs seem to be fancy and fashionable in nature. For example fast food restaurants like Mac Donald employees are 90% youth and majority of them are college going students. In Bhutan we lack such firms and those that exist fail to provide a regular income or are not at all ready to employ any youth. Firms like housecleaning services can be encouraged which require active manpower and are willing to employ youths with a regular income. Youths will be attracted to such jobs as it does not require much qualification and have some sort of work dignity. This way more youths those that are on holidays and those that are drop-outs can avail to such jobs. Roadside Flower selling and house gardening can be encouraged as they do not require heavy manpower and very less qualification level. Roadside flower selling is favourable in Bhutan because of the presence of good roads and suitable climatic condition and good market for such products.

The government can explore and invest other ways for youth to be employed besides academic qualification. In Bhutan we have very less jobs that are willing to employ youth with less experience and low qualification level. Every job with a regular income either requires qualification and experience and most of the times both. Most of our youths are good athletes and this is evident from annual sports at schools and competitions held at national and international level. Government can provide some amount of incentives and regular allowances for youths who are extremely good at such sports like basketball, football, badminton, table-tennis, swimming and others. In this process youths will be attracted to take up sports as career as some kind of incentives and fringe benefits prevail. While the government at the same time can provide financial help to those that are extremely good in sports and encourage them to continue their studies. The government can establish health and fitness centers that are willing take in youth coaches and trainers who have basic knowledge about body-building and in the process of earning they can also learn. Such jobs will attract youths that have few qualification levels and more of interest in sports and physical education. The Ministry of Education can increase the number of P.E teachers at schools as they require more of athlete spirit than experiences and academic qualification. At the same time the opportunity to attain higher education for P.E teachers should be included in the education system to encourage more youths to take up such jobs.

The government can also include fringe benefits and incentives that make the jobs look more attractive to the younger generation. Fringe benefits will motivate more youth to take in jobs as they provide more facilities than just pay. The firms employing youth can allow wide range of facilities like computer and WIFI services and at the same time meal services and access to television and allowing them to work in shift system. In Bhutan we have very few jobs besides hospitality and security jobs that include shift system. Such shift system will attract more youths as they have choice over to work during the early and late hours and these firms can increase their take in employee as it extends its working hours. Firms can maintain small library to entertain the youth employee and keep them busy and this way book lovers will be motivated to take up such jobs because they get more than pay. The government can help in organizing fairs among firms to exchange ideas and skills and experiences and at the same time to take a break from their monotonous working hours. Some firms can also take initiative to run happy hours either for health classes or book reading period.

The government should promote program to create awareness about job availability in market, skills required for such jobs and at the same time to bring about changes in the mentality of people against blue collar jobs. Majority of our youths including those that are in search of jobs have no idea about jobs that are available in the market and the procedures to get employed in such jobs. The youths who are in search of scholarships have no idea of how to go about the application process as this even restricts them from attainting higher education. The government along with Royal University of Bhutan and concerned ministries should organize and promote fun program where the youth will be guided and monitored to be aware of jobs available in market and this will widen their choices and increase their probability to work in jobs suited with their skills. Such programs should come at the beginning of the year as youths undertaking different courses can decide and those that are dropouts can avail to different training according to the market demand.

The government since the inception of the first five year plan has failed to consider unemployment and particularly youth unemployment as a major issue. Therefore the government should consider unemployment issues at national level and lend priority to them as they are of vitality to the growing population. The government should encourage smaller families and lesser taxes on education and petty business. The government should allocate more budget in areas that can help to reduce unemployment. The parliament should endorse bills that are related of ways to reduce unemployment and make sure policy makers keep in consideration the unemployment issue whenever framing plans and programs. Every five year plan must be given a space to discuss and emphasis on ways to reduce unemployment in youths and the leaders both at the local as well as national level can conduct friendly meetings with youths, interacting and seeking their opinions on ways to reduce unemployment.

For a small country like Bhutan the youth will play an important role as they are the future leaders and citizens of the country. The government should continue to expand their support to reduce unemployment in youth and encourage youth to continue education and even avail to higher studies so that we create highly educated and skilled manpower in the near future. Volunteerism and extracurricular activities in schools such as sports and arts are important to keep youth healthy and engaged.

Comments

  1. I totally agree with your views, because an answer to youth issues coming from a youth is encouraging. It means youth care.
    Thats why we need more youth representatives in decision making processes. Let youth suggest…and let elders deal with the technicalities of these decisions.
    Keep it up, Tashi Wangmo. You make us proud.

  2. The unemployment rate you suggest is different from the current one: “3.1 percent as per the Labour Force Survey 2011” according to National Statistical Bureau of Bhutan. Their link: http://www.nsb.gov.bt/publication/files/pub10pp3748yo.pdf

    Please remember that some of these data are based on “survey” of sample population – not whole population. They are representative and accurate but not whole or always true.

    The suggestions of MacDonalds and things similar needs analysis on other spheres like income leaving the country, health issues, that ultimately affect the youth and their children later.

    1. With time we cannot stop this evident changes which will take place la such as the need for kids and adults to intake more junkies than ema datshi and red rice. But sir/madam i simply meant to give an example of what kind of jobs will attract todays youth that face unemployment, not necessary at the cost of our health. once again thank you Sir/madam.

  3. You are really carried away by Western lifestyle. Don’t watch too much Hollywood.We just don’t have market and lets not forget the population of the country and lets not also forget the percentage of whom are farmers who don’t avail to the services you mentioned. You really must be loving flowers.Good for you but have u seen anyone exchanging flowers on occasion in Bhutan? I guess not.looks like your flower boy is gunna kill himself after putting so much effort and no reward.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment la and i will try and include ways to solve the problem by including agriculture aswell. But you see sir/madam our youths are not at all interested to work in the fields unless and until it has been fully mechanized and in the meantime we can solve these problems through such jobs.

    2. Thank you so much for the comment la but i strongly disagree that i watch too many Hollywood movies because when i wrote about youths being employed through firms like macdonlad and all i simply meant to give an example of how youths in other countries are being employed and what sort of jobs attract them. Don’t you think our youths are learning textbooks that are written by american writers?, therefore the ideas and interest of our youths will be similar to that of western kids. Selling vegetable and flowers on road is one aspect of agriculture and isn’t it not true that during winter vacation kids earn pocketmoney through transporting oranges and other fruits to nearby locality? Thank you once again madam/sir.

  4. You are 18, and you write on stuffs like this is simply great! I like the fact that you are very smart to understand that solving majority of our probelm and not just unemployment the solution is private sector development. Many people in the civil service don’t understand this, believe me they don’t. They think making profit is bad. Anyways the reason I am writing here is to elaborate bit more on your idea of your plan for youth employment in Bhutan. Firstly, to start business in Bhutan is easy for only for rich people, and unfortunately they are less interested in starting a company that can employ more youth. They do business that can reap quick big profits, and worst they want to be the only dealer/supplier/producer of certain goods.
    The poor poeple cannot afford to open companies like Mc Donald or any kind of fast food shop, because the first thing needed is a good location where there is lot of people coming to buy your produce. So that can be only in Thimphu and rents in Thimphu are huge, lowering taxs (BIT) could help, but they(MOF) don’t care. So in this maner the problem of unemployment remains.

      1. Dear Tashi,
        I really appreciate you for your ideas. One thing i have noticed with the youth problem is that they always tend to work where they like only. This is one of the main draw back i saw with the youth. Other problem is once they are appointed they tend to change their works if they are not happy with the works. If one has to service one must at least try to sustain their works by taking interest where they are place to works instead of leaving the organization once they are appointed. I don’t say that all are same, for me i don’t do any interview for appointment like others do and by now i already appointed six VTI graduates with one 12th standard. And YES i don’t different between male and female and i give equal opportunity to both the gender. They are working with Green Innovation works which is Green product in Bhutan for the 1st time in our country. You can some times see what my working staff are doing and if you want to join us in future you are also most welcome along with your interested friends. I will try my best to support you for job employment with very little seeking helping hands from our govt. too. All the best.

  5. Dear Tashi,

    It is very interesting reading your post as you are only 18 and already care so much about issue that is facing your country. It is good if your suggestion can be read by higher authority and perhap ponder over it and see how to adjust to suit the bhutanese society.

    One suggestion i have is to enlist the youth into the military service for a short period of time. During this time, they could pick-up skill like discipline, team-work, simple life saving skill, sport, farming..etc

    cheer!

    1. Thank you sir/madam for the comment la. Well i have been thinking about making changes in my blog after so many people have commented, well i will make sure i don’t miss this idea. Yes i feel that with time things like discipline and farming are on the verge of eradication as our so called “Korean and American” youths find no time for such things sir/madam. Thanks once and again.

  6. Very good observation Tashi. For a 18 year old to write something like this itself is a huge achievement. Keep writing and read a lot. And one thing I ll tell you – as a young writer and blogger you don’t need to please anyone with your analysis. People will have opinions and views no matter what and how you write. So just write your heart out. And don’t let people’s comment let you down. Always take criticism as a compliment. That will help bring positive vibe in you. Good luck and good wishes.

  7. Very much encouraging and massive message for our country’s leaders to confront this ongoing issues.
    Keep writing and let your message be the pillar to every youths of this nation.

  8. Dear Tashi. You are to be commended for comming forward and speaking your mind, and putting forward your views for the future of the youth of Bhutan. As you will see from some of the comments, some are negative. Negative thinking will produce negative results. So Stay Positive. I thnk the Minister respomsible for employment In Bhutan, should hold a forum or a Youth Confeence, with young teenagers as yourself from every district of Bhutan. Listen to the youth point of view. And implement new long term plans for the future of the youth of Bhutan. Now to address the Drug & Alcohol youth problem In Bhutan. When they are convicted. Do not Fine them with money. Put them to work for the City. Cleaning & working on the Highways Supervised. They would have to wear a special colored coat so everyone would know who they were. The work would be free. If they did not show up for there Job. They would be put In Jail. I think they would soon get the message that Drugs & Alcohol abuse In Bhutan, will not be tolerated.
    Respectfully. James Brady. USA. I Love your Royal Family. Blessings to all of Bhutan.

  9. I am astonished by your concern about youth unemployment in our country. We have overcome so many changes in this past couple of years, but our mentality has not. We have unlimited choice in our life and we keep looking for better ones. We keep on looking for the best and we land up nowhere.
    I feel that government should encourage the youth to break the walls that have been blocking themselves to work manually and not only a paper work, as you have mentioned. I also have come across so many concerns from my Facebook friend about the promotion of the technical education in Bhutan.
    “I failed to understand why the Government have not yet realize the importance of Technical Education, though it was founded in 1st May, 1965 by late father Philips and Late His Majesty the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk at Rinchneding.. Source- Facebook
    This is indeed a very good concern; we often down look the graduates from technical and vocational institutes. The most developed countries in the world are developed by the technical graduates and not the general graduates. To support your concern; government should provide better facilities, remuneration and other benefits so that the youths get encouraged towards this sector.
    We are bound by so many things, that we do not get chance to explore ourselves with new ideas and innovation. I often hear from people “that’s the way we do things around here, it has always been done this way, don’t mess with what works.” Instead of challenging these assumptions, many of us, simply keep reproducing what has been done before. It’s the easiest thing to do. I would like to add up with your concern that individual should also focus on attitude development from the very grass wood level so that you are willing to work under any circumstance. I would like to suggest, to establish a drop in center for unemployed youths so that they are guided for developing positive attitude towards the work and themselves.
    Thank you for raising this concern, I sincerely appreciate and support you.

  10. inspiring writing and yes Tashi you should write on behalf of us ‘Youth’ and us issues because you will speak but truth of us.

  11. Hello, I am a swiss journalist and m wife and self will be visiting your country as of next
    week. We’d be most interested to meet with you. If you are interested, please contact me
    at miwyler@bluewin.ch. thank you

  12. Tashi…your insight and understanding of youth unemployment is astonishing for someone so young. You not only understand the issues, but have great clarity in concrete and practical solutions. May I encourage you to continue to speak out and offer your opinions and solutions to anyone who will listen. Remember, many great things have humble and small beginnings. Warmest greetings from the USA. Is it proper to begin a comment with the greeting of Namaste? Please feel free to email me at “tedel1955@gmail.com” if you have any questions about the USA and the challenges of our unemployed youth. Blessings to you, your Royal family and your new Prime Minister.

  13. I have read this blog fairly in detail and it provided me with some inputs, we are currently exploring to set up in Bhutan.
    This is solely with the reason of providing opportunities to the youth,therfore meet our Corporate responsibility of overall development.This will help the youth to develop their soft skills and get a better world view. Markets are no longer regional and have achieved a scale where the world is a local market.
    We hope to bring good skills, service the youth who can be trained and make them at par with some of the other countries, though I must confess that it will take some while.
    But count us in, currently we are studying the local area,people, government etc and should be keen to start around April 2015 or so

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