The Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) under the Ministry of Education and other related stakeholders have now completed the National Youth Policy (NYP) review.
This was informed during the closing event of the Youth Initiative campaign organized by the Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy (BCMD) on 24 September.
The revision of NYP started in January 2020. Rinzin Wangmo, Chief Programme Officer of Youth Center Division, DYS told Bhutan Times that the revision has been completed.
She said that the department and stakeholders are waiting to present it to the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) after which it will be put through the Gross National Happiness Commission screening process and then to the Cabinet.
“The NYP review took a long time due to Covid-19. It was challenging for the smaller groups to call representatives for meetings from relevant agencies, and they could not attend meetings regularly,” said the chief programme officer.
The agencies involved in the review are positive that NYP will be implemented by January 2022.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Tandi Dorji, said that youths are a very important asset to the country. The minister who was a member during the development of the NYP stated that youth-related issues had not changed since 2011 and that a National Youth Action Plan was required.
During the development of NYP, he said, “The working group did not get time to hear from the youth and could not visit all the dzongkhags. However, the concerned organizations consulted the youths in the recently completed NYP review.”
The Director General for the DYS, Tenzin Thinley, said that youths were not consulted during the 2011 NYP development but it was discussed during the review.
A graduate from the College of Natural Resources, Sonam Tshomo, said that there was a failure in the implementation of the NYP and the recent result of the Preliminary Examination of the Royal Civil Service Commission is the evidence.
She said that the quality of education has been decreasing and no action is being taken. She said theoretical learning in school couldn’t be wholly implemented in the work field. Hence, she said, “there is a need to include some practical skills in the plan.”
Another graduate of College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) who participated in the NYP review, Dorji Om, said, “There were more points to include and for this reason, there is urgency to include youth members in the decision-making level.” She added that parliamentarians and other committee members may not know the real issues of youths.
Tshering Samdrup, a graduate of CLCS who was involved in the environment chapter during the NYP review, said that generally the environment is understood as only about waste management.
He said, “The environment includes more than waste management- surroundings, living and learning conditions, which may include infrastructures, and all cross-sector related approaches.”
One of the Youth Initiatives members, Jampel Yeshey Peldon, said that youths are considered the leaders of tomorrow but are not realized. She said, “The voice of the youth should be raised and made heard.”
In the review, whole society approaches are included as youth cuts across all sectors. The Chief Programme Officer, Rinzin Wangmo calls for action across the whole society. She said, “The DYS alone cannot be responsible for youth development. Everyone has to contribute- agencies, parents, and society. “
The agencies in the NYP review include the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and Ministry of Information and Communications,
In addition, Bhutan Youth Development Fund, Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency, NCWC, National Film Commission, RENEW, BCMD, and youth groups also comprise the review groups.