….old policies have failed to address the changing needs of the time, the system needs to be adapted and transformed to respond meaningfully, effectively and efficiently
By Dechen Pem
“As our youth mature and become adults, they have to shoulder greater responsibilities. They will need to take care of their parents, work, and build assets to secure their future. When they do not find opportunities at home to realize their aspirations, they will head abroad inevitably. If we are unable to create better economic opportunities for our people at home within a decade or two, there will be a scarcity of young people in Bhutan”- His Majesty The King.
Lyonchen Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering in the 4th estate of nation stated that the main reason behind Bhutanese going abroad in countries like Australia and Middle East is because of the systemic failure.
“We, as a country and as a Bhutanese, were not on track. Years have gone into rhetoric and formalities. Our systems and priorities have been misplaced, professionalism and accountability almost non-existent, and all opportunities of growth and economic dreams for the people and the country compromised”, said Lyonchen.
According to Lyonchen, many recent graduates and other groups chose to go abroad as they have no other choice due to the country’s low performance. There, people have access to greater options that are tailored to their abilities. In fact, a lot of Bhutanese who leave the country perform very well and are in high demand from companies.
“There is no fault on the part of those who choose to go outside. Our system, which is still lagging behind, is at fault”, he said.
Bhutan’s system has failed to retain its people for the economy.
“I have now spent eight months in Australia. After receiving my degree from Sherubtse, I made the decision to come here due to limited work opportunities in Bhutan. Even though I finished my degree with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Dzongkha, there were relatively few work opportunities in Bhutan that matched my degree. When agencies post job openings, they do not specify if a certain degree is required. Additionally, there is no specific requirement for a degree qualification in a particular civil service sector for the Royal Civil Service Examination. Once they pass the examination, anyone from any background is welcome to apply and accept the position. I think it is high time Bhutan change its systems. I am not sure what really is failing; the education, the system of the country or we as an individual”, said Sonam Tobgay, a graduate from Sherubtse in Australia.
Sonam Deki, a class 12 pass out from Bhutan, working in Abu Dhabi said, “I never thought I would have to work at a place somewhere far from my country. But then I had no other option. Unlike my friends, I am no privileged to continue my higher studies. I had to find a job which would sustain my family. However, finding a job in Bhutan was very difficult having completed class 12 only. So through several attempts I got my hands on this job in Abu Dhabi. It gets difficult sometimes but what can I do. I think it is high time, Bhutan work towards addressing problems that people are facing and find a way to shift the country’s system to a better position”.
Lyonchen further stated that keeping the Royal Vision and need for immediate development of the system in mind, the government is now pacing up to change Bhutan for the betterment. Some of the works has already started and the others will fall in very soon.
“We are working towards strengthening works in various sectors. Hydropower, which is the primary source of income, is being optimised through the medium sized hydropower projects being designed, implemented, and constructed by experts within the country. Tourism, with renewed focus, is picking pace. Private sectors have been introduced with various Fiscal Incentives and interventions to encourage them to earn more. Skilling, reskilling and up-skilling youth of today is paramount. His Majesty, through the Desuung Skilling Project, has showed us the way and we will adhere to the needs and standards as we move on. Our education system is being transformed where by some of the Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs have been rolled out”, he said.
“One of the main vehicles that take us forward, in keeping with the intent and the spirit of the national transformation efforts is the 13th Plan. The notable feature here is that it does not limit the Plan to a five year cycle but spans over a decade. While that will help any government to implement what is required during the tenure, it will also anchor the country with the long-term goals. A series of consultations have kick-started and it will cover all agencies, sectors, and even political parties in the coming months. Meanwhile, the government, in the remaining period, will ensure that the reforms take root and are completed within deadlines”, he added.
In the fast phase of changing global trend-economy and geopolitics driven with technological changes demands befitting government policies that can address the need of the hour meaningfully and efficiently. Bhutan’s most of the policies are riveted and serves well the needs of until late two thousand but in the span of less than a decade the world has taken a new stage of change engineered on the technological advancement which remain limitless.