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Bhutan

Police completes investigation on the recent stabbing and assault incident at Supreme Court

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 2:52pm

The Police will be forwarding the case regarding the recent stabbing and assault incident at the Supreme Court to the Office of the Attorney General on Monday. According to Police, they have completed the investigation now.

The former Trongsa Dzongda Lhab Dorji stabbed an ACC official with a knife at the Supreme court following an altercation outside the courtroom, last month. The incident happened after the Supreme Court rendered its judgment convicting Lhab Dorji, his wife, and two others for involvement in the Trongsa land scam.

Pema Seldon Tshering

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Categorie: Bhutan

Microchipping pet dogs, the science behind it

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 2:51pm

It’s pretty sure most pet dog owners across the country have received a microchip implant on their dogs by now. The Livestock Department’s pet dog registration and microchipping campaign which ended yesterday have microchipped over 93 per cent of pet dogs across the country. 

When you bring your pets for microchipping, an official registers the microchip number in your pet registration card. With it, you and your pet’s details will be entered into the central pet registry database along with a photo of your pet. The microchip is then inserted under the skin usually on the neck fold of your dog.

The microchip is a small radio-frequency transponder almost the size of a rice grain which carries a unique 15-digit identification number. The number will give your pet a lifelong identification. It is detected by a scanner.

“It works just like the bar codes on goods in shops. When scanned, the scanner will read the codes and all the information will pop up,” said Dr Karma Wangdi, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer under the Department of Livestock.

Once implanted, the microchip will start transmitting the identification number when activated by the scanner. The chip is a passive device and it doesn’t have a battery or any moving parts harmful to your pets.

“We want to promote responsible pet ownership. So far we do not know which animals are pets and which are strays. Secondly, if the pets get lost, we can scan them and reunite them with the rightful owners if they are brought to a livestock centre,” said Jamtsho, Veterinary Officer in Bumthang.

The microchipping campaign is also aimed at reducing the stray dog population. Currently, all free roaming dogs are sterilised and notched with a V sign. This means, there will be no more new litter in the stray population. However, microchipped pets are still capable of breeding. So, if pets are found breeding in open, owners will be fined as per the Livestock Act.

“In case our pets harm other people, we will be traced and fined. This will make people take care of their pets better,” said Jamyang Zhoene Dorji, a pet owner.

“I think this is a very good initiative but there will be some people who are not even bothered by the fines. However, I think generally people will now become a lot responsible,” said Sonam Kinga, another pet owner.

When your pets deliver new pups, they have to be either sterilised or microchipped as per your choice, hereafter. The microchipping and registration services will be provided for free for a few months. After that, a nominal fee will be collected.

The campaign microchipped over 25,000 pet dogs out of the country’s nearly 73,000 dog population. A mopping up campaign to sterilise and microchip the remaining dogs will be carried out as well.

Kipchu, Bumthang

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Categorie: Bhutan

Senior National Women’s Cricket team gearing up for ACC T20

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 1:53pm

The Bhutan senior women cricketers are back in the nets to prepare for the ACC T20 Championship to be held in Malaysia from mid of June 2022. Malaysian Cricket Association will be hosting the Championship for Women’s teams from 10 countries. The championship will act as the qualifier for the 2022 ACC Women’s Asia Cup scheduled to be held in October in Bangladesh.

According to Cricket Bhutan, the 14-member squad is working on the weaknesses from their previous international tournaments and is expected to perform well.

Tshering Dendup

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Categorie: Bhutan

10-bedded hospital for Pangbisa by September this year

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 1:50pm

Access to healthcare services will be easier and more convenient for the people of Pangbisa chiwog in Lunyi Gewog in Paro soon. This is because works to complete the 10-bedded hospital in Pangbisa are in full swing. For years, the villagers have been travelling to the Paro hospital which is located about 10 kilometres away.

If the pandemic and extreme winter didn’t impede the work progress, the hospital would have been completed by this time. Currently, about 75 per cent of the work is completed. It includes the construction of the hospital, staff quarters and roads.

According to the site manager, the works were sub-contracted to expedite the progress. Today, 30 workers are carrying out work such as whitewashing the walls, roofing, and plastering.

Although the construction works will be completed by September this year, the services will be available by next year.

“Pangbisa is connected with a motorable road. Having a hospital will immensely benefit us,” said Tshering, a resident.

“It will be convenient for us as the hospital is located nearby,” said Chencho Dem, another resident.

Once operational, the hospital will provide laboratory services, eye, dental, ultrasound, X-ray and traditional medicine services. The Paro Dzongda said this will also avoid crowding at Paro hospital.

The hospital is being constructed at a cost of Nu 34 M under the Small Development Project Grants.

The hospital will be managed by about 25 health workers including a doctor.

Namgay Wangchuk, Paro

Edited by Tshering Zam

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Categorie: Bhutan

Dalbari-Dagapela secondary national highway to complete next month

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 1:46pm

The much-awaited Dalbari-Dagapela secondary national highway is finally taking its shape. Today, over 98 per cent of the work is complete. The 80.58 kilometres highway is expected to be ready by the end of next month.

The project office is winding up the remaining side drain construction works in some stretches of the highway.

After the completion of all the blacktopping works, the project office is currently executing works to construct four bridges along Gesarling and Sisithangkhola. The bridge construction works at Dharey, Samarchhu and Nirkhola are nearing completion and will be open to traffic by next month.

Meanwhile, the construction of the Kumlung bypass is in full swing. The project officials are expecting to complete the bailey bridge by the second week of July this year.

The Works and Human Settlement Ministry took over the bridge construction works a year ago after the concerned contractor failed to execute the bridge construction works.

The highway construction works began in 2014 but the works were kept on hold for two years after some issues and allegations related to procurement emerged. The works then resumed in 2017.

The project is being funded jointly by the Netherlands’ Facility for Infrastructure Development and the government.

Pema Tshewang, Dagana

Edited by Sonam Pem

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Categorie: Bhutan

Norgaygang GC road in dire need of maintenance

The Bhutanese Expression - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 1:42pm

Owing to a limited budget, the 18-kilometre Norgaygang Gewog Center road in Samtse continues to remain in a poor condition. Unable to carry out maintenance works as the road is very lengthy, the gewog tried to hand it over to the department of roads last year. But, the gewog office is yet to get a response from the department.

The narrow winding road of Norgaygang Gewog which is riddled with potholes will put anyone’s driving skills and the vehicle to test.

As such, not many light vehicles travel along the road today. And now, with monsoon just at the doorstep, residents are worried that certain stretches of the road will become inaccessible, especially for small vehicles.

“We have been facing a lot of problems, especially with regards to our gewog centre road. Although a few vehicles travel, the road today is in desperate need of maintenance,” said Yeshi Dorji, a resident in the gewog.

“Small vehicles will have a tough time crossing some parts of the road as they are not in good condition. Hardly a few stretches of the road are in good shape. It is high time that the maintenance work is carried out,” said Sangay Rai, another resident.

Despite carrying out a few minor maintenance works, the gewog administration claimed that it is challenging as the road is quite long.

“The previous gewog administration has tried its best to improve the road condition. Likewise, the authorities have also tried to hand over the road to the DoR but didn’t receive any updates on the matter so far. Now, even we are trying to do our best. I have also talked about the road with our Dzongda and we are also planning to raise the issue again in the upcoming DT,” said Norgaygang Gup, Shyam Kumar Gurung.

He further added the matter was also discussed with the Works and Human Settlement Minister and the Tashichhoeling constituency’s Member of Parliament during their recent visit to the gewog.

“For a time being, recently our Dzongda has ordered the Tashichhoeling Drungkhag to help in carrying out a few minor maintenances along the GC road. The road will be widened and the unnecessary sharp turnings will be cleared and repaired. For now, all the measurement works with the engineers have also been completed,” added the Norgaygang Gup.

The roads department, last year, refused to take over the road on the basis that the government handed over all GC roads to the local government in 2019. The office also said that there is nothing much they can do about it unless the works and human settlement ministry intervenes.

The Dzongkhag Tshogdu then decided to write to the MoWHS. As of today, both the gewog and the DoR office have not received any orders from the ministry concerning the matter. Constructed in 2017, the Norgaygang GC road today benefits over 600 households of the gewog.

Passang Dorji, Samtse

Edited by Phub Gyem

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Categorie: Bhutan

Policy for senior citizens’ welfare to be launched this year

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:49am

Yangyel Lhaden 

To improve the care and protection of senior citizens, the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) secretariat is working on formulating the National Policy for the Senior Citizens. It is expected to be launched in October.

Few available studies from National Statistics Bureau (NSB) 2017 show that senior citizens face financial problems, food insufficiency, landlessness, debt burden, abandonment, disrespect, discrimination, and social exclusion in some aspects.

According to NSB 2017 report 30 percent live in a poor shelter, 22 percent do not own land, 15 percent are debt-ridden, 26 percent of them face food insufficiency and 63 percent have a financial problem.

Senior Policy Researcher with GNHC, Karma Tshering Samdrup said that currently, there was no dedicated care for the older population because there was no specific legislation or financial support system, and there were policy gaps.



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Karma Tshering Samdrup said that as per the population projection of older people from the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017 (PHCB) it is time to formulate a policy for senior citizens.

“The policy recommends productive ageing, health care and protection, safety and security, housing and age-friendly services, and welfare for our senior citizens,” he said.

He said that senior citizens programmes at the initial stage were limited to declaring October as Senior Citizens Day, integrated health care screening for elderly citizens, priority counters at health centres and banks, and elderly care programme under the health ministry.

The proportion of the elderly population, those who are 65 years and above, increased from 4.7 percent (29,745) to 5.9 percent (43,064) between 2005 and 2017.



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PHCB projection shows in 2022, the elderly population in Bhutan has 50,715 older people amounting to 6.7 percent of the population and it is expected to increase to 13.4 percent (118,650) by 2047 making the country an “aged” society.

Head of United Nations Population Fund, Phuntsho Wangyel said that according to UNFPA population projection, if 60 years is considered as cut off age for the elderly population, the elderly population would outnumber the children population by 2047.

“Declining fertility rates and longer life expectancy are causing unprecedented growth in the proportion of the older population,” he said.

He said, therefore, there are growing calls for senior citizens to be recognised as a distinct community deserving of special care and attention, rights, and an increased focus on the right of senior citizens.



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To guide policy formulation, GNHC in collaboration with the health ministry and the Royal Society for Senior Citizens with funding from UNFPA conducted a one-day meeting involving stakeholders from Zhung Dratshang, armed forces, non-government organisations, civil society organisations (CSO), Office of Attorney General, and senior representatives.

The representatives suggested introducing old age homes, incentives to care for the old, and universal basic income to senior citizens through the policy.

Pema Lhamo, a representative from a CSO said that an old age home should be one of the options to take care of the old. “Incentives to care for parents should be made available to children just like parents getting maternity and paternity leave.”

Leytshog Drungchen with Zhung Dratshang, Ugen Namgyal said that the policy should address ageing productively. “Pension should not only be limited to the civil servants, corporate employees, and private individuals which is only a small percent of the population.”



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He said that a policy recommendation and different schemes of pension should be made available to benefit the larger population. “I am hopeful the proposal I am working on pension for monks and nun under Zhung Dratshang would be able to take care of ageing population in monastic body.”

Sonam Tshewang, a retired civil servant, said that the policy should capture the whole ageing population of present and future, “Old people of my age are closed-minded but now there is emerging old, they are open-minded and future old people will be even more modern.”

Phuntsho Wangyel said that the policy intervention should ensure senior citizens remain healthy, active, and productive in their advanced years. “It should be comprehensive enough to take into consideration the diversity of situation and needs of the senior citizens.”

He said that the policy should also address eliminating age discrimination, promoting positive ageing, and securing their right to comprehensive and high-quality services.



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The GNHC secretariat is conducting a series of policy formulation workshops and focus group discussions and presentations to different sectors before the policy finalisation on September.

Categorie: Bhutan

ECB spends Nu 254M in third LG elections

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:49am

Dechen Dolkar 

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) spent about Nu 254 million (M) to conduct the third Local Government (LG) elections.

The expenses incurred include re-elections in both gewogs and thromdes. 

Records with the ECB show that the election expenses during the last LG election was lesser by about Nu 5M as ECB spent about Nu 259M in 2016.

During the elections, most expenses are made on travel allowance (TA) and daily allowance (DA) for the election officers. 



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ECB deployed more than 5,600 election officers during the third LG elections, including 50 returning officers (ROs) and 51 national observers (NOs).

There were 1,128 polling stations across the country and each polling station has an average of five election officers.

ECB’s spokesperson, Phub Dorji, said it takes about eight days for the officials to travel to the polling stations. 

“There are some places like Lunana and Lingzhi where it takes two weeks to go and return,” he said. 



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He said ROs and NOs are deployed for about two months during the election period. “They are deployed from the day the election is announced till the petition period ends.”

During the elections period, ROs and NOs are paid around Nu 130,000 to Nu 140,000. “ 

But ROs are overworked and underpaid. ROs have huge responsibilities and accountabilities during the elections,” Phub Dorji said.   

He also claimed that for the third LG election, they spent less due to cost-cutting measures despite the revision in the daily subsistence allowance for civil servants.



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He said that the commission has cut down the expenditure wherever possible, including car polling among the election officers. “We have weighed whether it is cheaper to hire a car, provide mileage or use government pool vehicles.” 

He, however, said during the third LG election, the commission incurred expenses on the mobile voting booth for physically challenged voters and elderly voters. “A team of election officers went to collect votes in the remotest area even if there was one voter.”

Categorie: Bhutan

LG programmes must align with national priorities: PM

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:48am

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

With a lot of Covid-19 protocols lifted and the nation progressing into a new normal era, people must change the way they think and do their work, according to the Prime Minister (PM).

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said this while meeting gewog officials in Samdrupjongkhar.

He spent a day each in every gewog in the dzongkhag.

Lyonchhen also said that since the local government (LG) officials work close to the people, it’s important to revisit the plans and programmes on the ground to ensure they align with the national priorities.



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He said the planning must be effective and relevant to the time and need and for that to happen, they need accurate data. “It’s only LG members who can give the authentic as well as real-time statistics.”

The Prime Minister said LG members are responsible to explore new ideas and promote innovative programmes that will contribute to the prosperity of the villages, gewogs and people.

He said block grants have been introduced to empower LG members so that they could invest in inventive programmes, promote the local economy and employ young people in the villages.

“While there are concerns on the low budget utilisation in the LGs, we know it was because of the pandemic and local government election,” he said. “But now, we cannot waste our time.”



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The Prime Minister also said since LG members are there to support people, they must come forward with ideas and proposals that are well researched and sustainable. “Access to finance as well as the market are some of the key areas we can work together.”

He claimed that he is not in the gewogs for ceremonies or sightseeing. “I am here to resolve issues immediately. I would also work with concerned agencies if there are broader issues that need review or consultation.” 

Meanwhile, LG leaders said they are happy that the Prime Minister is there to discuss issues in the gewogs at the start of their tenure.

They said gewogs could not implement many development activities because of a lack of budget and pandemic.



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“Since most of the gewog centre (GC) roads are damaged and are in bad conditions, we expect the government to support us with budget to maintain the GC roads and to carry out other developmental activities,” a gup said.

Categorie: Bhutan

Picture story

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:47am

Ambassador of Bhutan to Thailand, Kinzang Dorji received 10 volunteers from the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), under the aegis of the Friends from Thailand Programme. 

The volunteers, including Community and Tourism Development Specialist, Dairy Food Microbiologist, Dairy Technologist, Audio Visual Trainer, and Information Technology Communication Officer, have arrived here in Bhutan on May 17. They will be attached with various agencies for an initial period of one year.  

Categorie: Bhutan

Fulfilling wishes of the old

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:46am

Senior citizens at a consultation meeting to formulate a national policy this week spoke their minds out. What came out was the hypocrisy knowing that realities are dictating priorities of which caring for the old is forced to the background. That the Bhutanese culture and the respect and love for the old and the aged was exposed as many senior citizens – our parents and grandparents –  made it clear that there is neglect, forced by circumstances, if not deliberately.

Elderly citizens want old-age homes, in other words, care. This, they feel, could take care of them when their children and grandchildren are “busy” pursuing their careers and have no time to attend to the old and the vulnerable. It is not in our culture to send our parents or grandparents to an age-old care centre. The concept of sending away parents to a “shelter,” as it is known, means we are irresponsible or failing as children.

Responsibility, when it comes to taking care of the old, is different. Locking them inside flats or apartments, or making them babysit five days a week, is not caring. Many long to go back to their village, abandoned it may be, even if they have to take care of themselves.

Many senior citizens find joy and happiness at the Memorial Choeten in Thimphu, where they throng for a few hours. Times have changed, and, so have priorities. As we chase our dreams as civil servants, business people or corporate employees, we unconsciously neglect our parents and grandparents.  We cannot get up at 6 am to ensure a diabetic mother takes her pill. The rest of the day, he or she is alone. When the ballpen sketch of the medicine time disappears from the plastic medicine pouch, they are lost and abuse the prescribed medicine, unknowingly.



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Old-age care homes or centres usually are equipped with all the facilities that are missing when forced to stay with office-going children or grandchildren. They may not get the “love”, but they could have the needed attention and care when at old age centres. What is stopping us is the social pressure. Sending away a parent to even a professional care centre could be construed as not being responsible or a failure as sons and daughters. In today’s context where elderlies are locked inside apartments for about nine hours, it is a disgrace. Elderlies need not be forced to seek shelters in the care centres, if we have one. If their well-being can be looked after, if centres can provide better services, and if the elderlies are happy, why not fulfil the wishes of those in their twilight years.

There is a difference going by what the representatives of senior citizens said at the consultative meeting. They may not represent all senior citizens, but they feel that old age homes could be a solution. The tradition of respecting our elders has changed. The need for old-age homes has become a necessity. Changing the mindset will be easier if there is  strong backing from the government. All efforts, despite the so-called cultural or societal pressure, should result in improving the lives of the senior citizens. 

The wish is simple. Many want to spend their last few days in their village among the loved ones who have time. Dying alone in an urban flat and directly taken to the crematorium for the lack of space and time is what many senior citizens fear. Listening to their needs is granting their last wishes.



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Categorie: Bhutan

The national interest must prevail over the institutional interest

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:46am

The argument of constitutionality must not be used as a shield to justify the institutional interest and create confusion for the public. The recent news titled “ACC’s role of both investigation and prosecution flawed” creates more confusion than clarity. The news even quotes a judicial official who states that Supreme Court decisions are “not legally binding.” Such a statement poses a serious threat to the rule of law and the constitution itself. Article 1 (11) of the Constitution makes it clear that once Supreme Court decides, it is final and binding. In rare instances, the Supreme Court in future may nullify or modify such decisions in a different case with no bearing earlier case.

The constitutionality of ACC’s prosecuting authority has been long settled in the several cases. Article 27 (1) defines that the primary responsibility of ACC is to “prevent and combat corruption.” Article 27(5) imposes the duty on the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to prosecute corruption cases. Article 29 (1) and (8) states that the function of the OAG is to carry out legal matters assigned by the government including litigation and prosecution. Neither ACC nor OAG Act indicates that the entire prosecution power rest with the OAG alone.

Contrarily, the Constitution empowers the parliament to define the functions and authorities of both ACC and OAG through their statutes. Thus, foreseeing the importance of vigorous checks and balances between OAG and ACC, the Parliament authorized the ACC under very limited grounds with prosecuting authority in the interest of the nation.  

Article 10 (1) of the Constitution vest “all legislative powers” with the parliament. Thus, every law once passed by the Parliament is valid and constitutional as per Article 1(1). Only Supreme Court can declare any law as ultra vires or unconstitutional under Article 1(10) which is not the case in the present scenario.

The Supreme Court permitting the ACC to prosecute certain cases completely demystifies any doubt on the validity of Section 128 of the ACC Act. Further, Section 71 of the Royal Bhutan Police Act (RBP), 2009   authorizes the Police to prosecute any person for any criminal offence other than a misdemeanour and above. Article 28 (3), the primary responsibility of the police is to maintain law and order and prevention of crime, not prosecution. It is noteworthy that neither the OAG nor legal experts or judicial officials or any institution questioned such authority of police in prosecution in light of constitutionality though the police have broader powers compared to ACC for prosecution.

There are also similar examples in other democracies where one agency functions as both investigating and prosecuting institution. In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation carries out a not only investigation but also carries out its prosecution. Similarly in India, the Central Bureau of Investigation has had the authority to prosecute cases since the as early 1980s. In Thailand, the National Anti-corruption Commission (NAAC) is given similar prosecution powers. All these institutions are like ACC with the primary function of investigation.

The senior officials including the chairperson or Commissions of ACC must refrain from appearing in the court during the judgment hearings in selected cases unless required by law. Otherwise, the public will see ACC as a biased institution with vengeance. Every case must be treated equally. The current issue is not of constitutionality but of institutional interest. The national interest must override every other interest.

Sonam Tshering

Lawyer, Thimphu

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own.

Categorie: Bhutan

Quarantine charges collected despite NC19TF order

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:45am

Nima Wangdi 

A few people, who were returning from India after biometrics were quarantined in one of the hotels in Paro on April 29; they were made to pay quarantine fees.

They have paid Nu 6,300 each, which includes Nu 1,500 for the Covid-19 test upon completion of the five-day-quarantine.

It was two days later that the complainants learned that there is an order from the National Covid-19 Taskforce (NC19TF), which exempts them from paying the quarantine fees.

The order was issued on April 6.



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The order stated that in addition to the existing considerations for regular students, quarantine charges will be waived for travels undertaken for biometrics, visa interviews; IELTS, TOEFL, medical treatment, and similar test related to studies. “Students also include monks and nuns enrolled in formal institutions.”

“However, travellers should continue to bear all quarantine and testing requirements if the travel is related to businesses and private purposes,” the order stated.

The order also stated: “This order should supersede the earlier order and the regional Covid-19 Task Forces are requested to implement the directives and ensure due diligence before approving the waiver.”

Complainants said that they contacted the de-suups at the hotel immediately after they found the order and asked for refund.



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According to one of the complainants, de-suups told them that they had not received the order during the time they completed quarantine term. Complainants were asked to write to the finance ministry since the money had already gone in to the national Covid-19 response fund account.

Complainants said the order was issued on April 6 and the officials at the hotel claimed to have not received it even in almost a month. The complainants were discharged on May 5.

The person said they paid everything as they had agreed to do it in the travel clearance. “We were unaware of the order from the NC19TF until some people informed them.”

“We started to doubt if they were made to pay intentionally despite the order or if the order was fake,” a complainant said.



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Officials the Kuensel talked to confirmed that they had not received the order by then and the people were made to pay going by the practice. They said that it was not easy to refund the amount since it goes to the Covid-19 response fund account. “It could have been easily refunded if it was paid to the hotel or any personal account.”

Paro dzongdag declined to comment and asked for written questions.  He said that he was occupied with his other duties. However, Kuensel did not receive his response when the paper was sent to press.

Categorie: Bhutan

Labour ministry launches improved labour online systems

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:44am

Yangyel Lhaden 

A new online system, MoLHR- Management Information Systems (MIS) has replaced the labour ministry’s existing online systems such as the job portal and LabourNet. It was launched yesterday. 

Layog Lyonpo (Labour Minister) Karma Dorji said that the new system was integrated with other systems to gather data from the source to get accurate data to make informed and evidence-based decisions. “We’re hopeful the new system will help us in providing services faster, efficiently, and effectively.”

Lyonpo Karma Dorji said that the system could show the actual number of jobseekers, and track TVET and skills development trainees until they get employed. “The ministry is going to soon introduce compulsory job seeker ID to get any job in Bhutan to know the actual number of unemployed.”



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MoLHR-MIS has four major systems: employment system, foreign workers management system, labour administration system, and  Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)-MIS.

Employment System is designed to manage the entire job search in one place; a new marketplace for job seekers and employers. 

Job seekers once registered will be able to access hundreds of job listings and apply for jobs right away, it also enables them to build their curriculum vitae (CV) which will be matched with the jobs advertised.

For employers, they can post job openings with required details and the system allows the employers to scan for available talents on the portal, check CVs, and shortlist the candidates for job interviews. 



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The job seekers and employers through integrated MIS can also apply for various engagement and training schemes with the labour ministry.

The Foreign Workers Management System replaces the LabourNet and allows collection of foreign workers’ details at the time of submitting the foreign workers application form, which can be accessed by both the Department of Immigration and Department of Labour. 

The employers can track applications and will also receive notifications.

Lyonpo Karma Dorji said, “It will help create a robust human resources management in the country through our newly created Department of National Human Resource Development.”



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Labour Administration System allows the enterprises and individuals to file complaints about contraventions in working conditions and working environment, and carry out self-inspection. 

Layog Lyonpo said that this system would ensure workplace safety and allows update of employer and employee data from the field. 

TVET-MIS

Layog Lyonpo said that the system would make it possible for all job seekers to apply for skilling programmes and training available, shortlisting, selecting, and informing the applicants. “The system will also cater to tracer studies of the trainees and thus, enable after training support and necessary interventions.”

This system would also effectively manage the overseas employment of our workforce, Layog Lyonpo said.



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A labour ministry official said that the system would improve transparency by minimising face-to-face interactions between the service providers and clients which would reduce bureaucratic discretion.  

“There will also be an audit trail to ensure accountability on the approving officers by keeping track of the applications if anything goes wrong,” the official said.     

The system was developed through the Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project (STEP-UP) funded by the Asian Development Bank.  

Categorie: Bhutan

The STEM Connect!

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:44am

That we live in a tech-driven era is a given.  In his address to the Royal University of Bhutan in 2019, His Majesty the King of Bhutan had underscored the importance of leveraging technology for education, job creation, public service delivery and good governance. Similarly at a webinar on Technology-Enabled Development in March 2022, the Prime Minister of India had emphasized the critical role of technology as a medium to empower the people of the country for achieving the goal of ‘Atmanirbharta’ or self-reliance. 

It isn’t a coincidence that our leaders have articulated similar views, echoing the importance of technology in human life.

This spirit of engagement with a focus on new and emerging technologies was also evident in the summer of August 2019 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid a state visit to Bhutan. While the visit had witnessed several milestones, the signature of  MOUs in the area of STEM between the Royal University of Bhutan and the Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi, Bombay and Kanpur had signalled an intent to move the friendship into newer areas, thereby adding a fresh dimension to the relationship.

In follow-up, a record 12 Bhutanese youth have been placed in M.Tech programmes at different Indian Institutes of Technology over the last two years, without the requirement of submission of a GATE score, which is ordinarily a mandatory pre-requisite for admission to M.Tech programmes in Indian institutions.



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On 21 February 2020, coinciding with the 40th birth anniversary of His Majesty the King, the Prime Minister of India had also introduced the annual India-Bhutan Friendship Scholarship for three students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. A total of five Bhutanese students have been awarded this prestigious Scholarship to pursue M. Tech programmes at IIT Kanpur in 2020 and 2021. Three more are in the wings for the Academic Year 2022-23.

The Indian Institutes of Technology are amongst the global best in tech knowledge, practices, techniques and research. Admission is intensely competitive for both the B.Tech and M.Tech programmes, several IIT alumni head the world’s top tech companies in testimony to this excellence. Sundar Pichai from IIT Kharagpur – Google; Arvind Krishna from IIT Kanpur – IBM; Nikesh Arora from IIT BHU – Palo Alto Networks, and Parag Agarwal from IIT Bombay – Twitter, vividly showcase the strength of our IITs as alma maters to engineering and technology wizards. 

And just how do the IITs measure up to other engineering institutions? Several amongst them have been listed by the QS World Rankings within the top 200 of all engineering institutions across the globe including IIT Bombay (49), IIT Delhi (54), IIT Kanpur (107) and IIT Roorkee (176), where Bhutanese students are studying at present. No mean feat!

Incidentally, and starting 2022, we have facilitated an increase in the number of ICCR Undergraduate Scholarships available for Bhutanese engineering aspirants from 20 to 25 at some of our leading tech institutions across the country.



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Youth engagement has been another focus of our engagement with Bhutan. 

While His Majesty the King has stated that youth involvement and support is needed to build on Bhutan’s achievements, the Indian Prime Minister has spoken to the ‘Can Do’ spirit of Indian youth. “It is because of India’s demographic dividend that India has charted global heights in terms of digital payments.”

In sync with this vision of our top leadership, Youth Visit Programmes have been formulated, starting with a batch of students from schools and colleges across Bhutan in September 2019, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India. This group was exposed to some of our finest tech institutions: ISTRAC, Bengaluru; TERI, Delhi; IIT, Delhi; Infosys and the Nehru Planetarium, both in Bengaluru. Likewise, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi called in four Bhutanese youth leaders in November 2021, as part of a ‘Gen-Next Democratic Network Programme’ alongside youth from Sweden, Jamaica, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Poland and Uzbekistan. 

The latest in this series is the St. Stephen’s College Young Leaders – Fellowship Programme fully sponsored by the Ministry of External Affairs that commenced on 1 March 2022. Bhutanese youth along with their peers from Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar Nepal and Sri Lanka have embarked on this 3-month residential programme which has as thrust areas: Leadership and Administration, Public Policy and Law, Education, Environment and Energy. 



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STEM linkages and Youth connections reflect our commitment to further enhance people-to-people ties between India and Bhutan. We look forward to working closely with the Royal Government and its various institutions, agencies and groups to progress this new area of activity in the bilateral sphere. Importantly, this is not the end but rather a beginning. We remain ready to welcome many more of our Bhutanese friends to study at our top tech institutions across India!

Contributed by 

Ruchira Kamboj

Ambassador of India to Bhutan

Categorie: Bhutan

Comprehending the Complexity of Countries: The Way Ahead

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:43am

Geopolitics is the game of strategists figuring out how countries behave. The Ukraine war has shown how assumptions about countries or the behavior of their leaders are wrong, plunging the world into what Henry Kissinger has called a “totally new era”.  

Hans Kuijper, a retired Dutch diplomat and exceptional Sinologist, has written an indispensable guide to understanding where country studies have gone wrong, and how we can use systems thinking and computers (ICT) to unravel the quagmire of flawed country studies. His book is a tour de force into the philosophy of social science, drawing on his incredible reading of ancient Chinese and Western philosophy, science and current country studies.   

The thesis of this book is quite simple: country studies have an explanandum (something, i.e. a country to be explained), but so-called country experts do not have an explanans, a tested or testable theory that not only explains, but stands out from other scientific theories in different disciplines such as geography, demography, ecology, politics, economics, sociology, linguistics, or anthropology. Thus, “China experts” unjustifiably claim to explain China, even when basing their writings on a single discipline, as if they are knowledgeable about everything concerning the country. As the saying goes, “No ant can see the pattern of the whole carpet.”  

Kuijper has identified a fundamental gap in conventional country studies. If you study a country (part) without taking a crude look at the world (whole) and not considering how interaction affects simultaneously the parts and the whole, that is to say, only making conjectures without a testable theory, you are only practicing pseudo-science, not science. For science is more than expressing opinions.  

Comprehending the Complexity of Countries is a monumental contribution to deep thinking about countries as complex and dynamic systems. In chapters 1-7, the author methodically and relentlessly exposes the enduring confusion, building step-by-step his thesis, examining theories and models, clarifying the concept of country (as distinct form area), showing how cities and countries have much in common, and exploring the scientific and technical feasibility of collaborative country studies. 

The author moves essentially from a multi-disciplinary to an inter-disciplinary approach, to the higher order of a trans-disciplinary way of thinking about the development of countries as adaptive complex dynamic systems. He examines how countries comprise both spontaneous and man-made systems, interacting both exogenously and endogenously (Chapter 6). The ancient Chinese recognized that empires rise and fall from both “external invasions and internal corrosion”. Chapter 7 delves deeply into the issue how modern scientific tools such as artificial intelligence, big data analysis and computer simulation could aid country studies.  Science fiction assumes that if we put all available information about one subject into a supercomputer, the subject would be replicated as a hologram, thus helping us predict its behavior. Whether we have sufficient information and computing power is only a matter of political will and imagination. Kuijper uses the example of networked digital libraries to substantiate his view that the study of a country could be greatly improved by deploying electronically available information about countries and regions. 

Having conceptualized the model for studying countries, Kuijper examines its profound implications for higher education, arguing for “connecting the dots” (Chapter 8). He is most original when he argues that ancient Greek and Chinese thought are alike in thinking about the organic whole, whereas the specialization of Western science caused the divergence between Western and Chinese ways of research.  The modern university, originally created to truly educate (bring up children) and spiritually elevate, became more and more specialized in less and less, making graduates complexity-illiterate. Students do not learn to connect the dots, to see the whole. The author argues for tearing down intellectual walls and mental silos to see the grand order of man and nature. Since each and every country has emergent properties irreducible to the properties of its constituent parts, we have to make use of the science of complex (not: complicated) and dynamic (not: linearly changing) systems in order to really comprehend the country.  

An example of not connecting the dots is the fact that it took years for development economists to realize that lifting a country out of poverty involves more than economic factors.  Similarly, ecologists took decades to realize that more scientific data on global warming is not going to change policy when economists (influencing the policymakers) habitually assume that markets can solve the problem of global warming in total defiance of the fact that it will take a combination of state and market to change human behavior.

I consider Kuijper’s discussion of reductionism versus holism (Chapter 9) a huge contribution to moving beyond the quagmire of Western exclusive/antithetical versus Chinese inclusive/correlative thinking. The reduction to atomistic parts of free individuals creates blinkers. Western scientists draw ever more distinctions, but tend to miss the whole (from which they are apart and of which they are a part) and how the whole changes with the parts. The whole is not a matter of either-or but of both-and, meaning that reductionism and holism are complementary rather than contradictory to each other. 

The book is the amazing achievement of an independent, determined scholar reading thoroughly in depth to find out that we need complexity thinking to understand complex phenomena, resisting the ingrained habit of simplistic reductionism, the default way of human understanding. It took at least four centuries to convince doctors to give up the idea of blood-letting as a solution to sickness.  So, it is not surprising that pseudo-scientists still think that they can pass as country experts without the help of many collaborating disciplinary-experts, using big data analytical tools.

Kuijper helps us navigate this complex subject by using a short abstract for each chapter, backed by key references.  General conclusions are drawn in Chapter 10.  He then draws his very practical and very useful recommendations with the last chapter distilling his key insights. 

This is a wonderful book, not just for sinologists, but for all who consider themselves to be country experts. It gives insight into the question of how we have got ourselves in a terrible mess over the current geopolitical path to conflict. This book speaks truth to power, but whether those in power will listen, is the big and urgent question to which there seems to be no simple, straight answer.   

Contributed by 

Andrew Sheng 

Asia News Network

Categorie: Bhutan

Netizens show concerns over Foreign Minister’s WeChat comment

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:41am

Thukten Zangpo

Many netizens expressed concern over Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji’s WeChat voice message about the government’s inability to control the rising fuel prices and possible fuel shortage.

He also talked about the increase in fuel prices in India and the world has an impact on Bhutan. “The government is discussing with the Indian government on the fuel price difference of about Nu 8 and Nu 9 between India and Bhutan.”

According to the voice message, there is an increase in fuel prices now, but after two to three months, there could be a shortage of fuel supply. “Not only fuel prices could hike three times in a month but could hike thrice in a week.”

The minister also claimed that the government is waiting for their tenure to complete or is ready to hand over the governance to a new government.



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It was learnt that the minister said it in a group chat of his constituency on May 18, but it was screen recorded and circulated in all social media platforms.

A netizen said that everyone is aware of the Ukraine-Russia crisis and this challenging time is to act instead of talking and creating fear in people.

He said people do not expect the government to surrender, but citizens will make a decision during the election.

Some even said that the foreign minister should resolve the high fuel price difference between India and Bhutan.



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Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji told Kuensel that there is a shortage of fuel supply globally because of the conflict in Europe. “We all have to stock up because the conflict is real.”

He also said there might be a time Bhutan might face a shortage of fuel if the conflict keeps going. “Everybody has to ration fuel. People are intelligent enough to know what happened.”

The minister said that his voice message went viral because of his statement about the government’s willingness to hand over governance to the next government. “People of my constituency have asked the question and I responded as a representative of them. But people have spread the message as a foreign minister. It is very different.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the people rushed to the Damchen Petroleum Distributors in Khuruthang, Punakha, to refuel their cars, and people were found stocking fuel in jerry cans on May 19.



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A source said that about 1,800 litres of petrol are sold on usual days but the fuel depot sold 3,700 litres on May 19.

He also said most people came to refuel or stock because of the rumours of fuel price hikes and supply shortage in the coming months. “People were refuelling car’s full tanks and people were even stocking 50 to 60 litres in jerry cans. This is unusual as people refuel for Nu 500 mostly.”

He added that a villager also takes 50 to 80 litres of diesel in jerry cans unlike only 20 litres before. “About 80 to 90 people rushed on May 19 to fill their jerry cans,” the source said.

Villagers take diesel to use in the power tillers for the paddy plantation and plantation in Punakha begins early next month.



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According to the source, he informed the people that there would be a change in the fuel prices since Bhutan import from India, but there would not be a shortage in supply.

Categorie: Bhutan

ASE to equip adolescents with 21st century skills

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:40am

Phurpa Lhamo  

To equip adolescents and young people with 21st century skills from an early age, the Adolescents Skills and Employability (ASE) Bhutan project was launched yesterday.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the Vice President of Bhutan Youth Development Fund, launched the project along with representatives from the UN, the government agencies, and CSOs.

Through the implementation of the project in 64 schools and 10 youth centres, around 10,000 children between the ages of 10 and 24 are expected to be involved in the project.

In the one-year project, mini-bootcamp challenges, national bootcamp and awards, and workshops would be held for the students. The students can pitch their ideas.



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Soon, the implementing agency, the education ministry, will be holding orientation for focal persons by the master trainer.

According UNICEF Bhutan representative, Will Parks, said that the master trainers and focal persons would roll out ASE Bhutan through two platforms—UPSHIFT, a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship programme that supports adolescents and young people to identify problems in their communities and design solutions to tackle those problems; and UNISOLVE, a digital platform that helps young people develop the critical skills they need. “The ASE Project, UPSHIFT and UNISOLVE form part of the Generation Unlimited platform, a global multi-sector partnership that enables the largest generation of 1.8 billion young people to become productive and engaged members of society.”

The 64 identified schools are from primary to high schools across Bhutan.

An education official said a few private schools were also identified and the schools were evenly distributed among rural and urban areas, and among 20 dzongkhags. A minimum of 50 students from each school is expected to take part in the project.



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Officiating education secretary, Karma Galay, said that ASE Bhutan project complements the on-going reform initiatives in the education sector including the Bhutan Baccalaureate, which has been adopted as the main platform for school education reforms emphasizes equipping the students with technological and other 21st century skills.

Will Parks said that besides foundational, digital and job-specific skills, young people need 21st Century skills to do well in school, life and work.

He added that also known as transferable skills or life skills, 21st century skills allow young people to become agile learners and global citizens equipped to navigate personal, social, academic and economic challenges. “The ASE Bhutan is an initiative that builds on the development in an adolescent’s first decade of life, to help them navigate risks and vulnerabilities in their second decade of life, and to set them on the path to fulfilling their  potential.”

The ASE Bhutan project is implemented by the education ministry in partnership with Bhutan Youth Development Fund, Loden Foundation, and UNICEF.



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Categorie: Bhutan

From Damphu to Lhamoidzingkha

Kuensel Online - Sab, 21/05/2022 - 11:39am

Choki Wangmo | Dagana

There is certain euphoria in travelling to new places. Lhamoidzingkha, as I saw on social media, was filled with colours and geological wonders.

I used to believe that the place was part of Phuentsholing being close to the border. It is also one of the oldest towns in the country in Dagana.

I heard that the town can be accessed from Gedu in Chukha. However, there is an alternate route along Dagapela-Dalbari road.

Until Gesarling in Dagana, it seems like one is travelling among human settlements. From there, the journey is long and ridden with risks. There are only a few clustered settlements. Otherwise, the endless winding road looks like a highway to uncertainty.



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The primary national highway that connects Dagapela to Dalbari in Lhamoidzingkha is still incomplete. There are four major bridge constructions that are in various phases of development. Some workers, who told me to drive quickly through a road that passes along a long cliff, said that the work would be completed by next month.

Scenes along the way

Till then, travellers have to drive through four streams that swell and are a risk during monsoon. A temporary bridge built over Samarchu was damaged from one end.

A few workers were there building side drains and clearing debris. Without proper drains, they said that the blacktop is quickly washed away by the heavy rain.



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There are no vehicles plying on the road. I saw only a few Boleros on the way. The journey through tall, humid, and thick forests is silent. As fog rises through these trees, filling the air with earthy aroma, like that of a tilled soil.

If not for the wide and deep scars in certain stretches caused by excavation, one can feel what it means to live in one of the carbon negative countries in the world. At different locations, formidable ridges surround the place.

Although it is one of the most remote dzongkhags in the country, with the highest rate of poverty and alcoholism, Dagana is a virgin dzongkhag—one is bound to spot rare species in random—which some enthusiasts take years to catch a glimpse even.

A lone Rufuous-necked hornbill, a golden languar, and hordes of butterflies, for example.

The road passes amid the calls of various birds.



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Settlements are not many. There are a few houses in the middle of thick forests—making one wonder about the status of human-wildlife conflict that is rampant in the region. There were rumours that the residents of Nichula gewog are looking for more resettlers with the hope that more humans would drive away wild animals.

The drungkhag is known for the increased incidents of conflict with elephants.

After passing Deorali, it is a steep descent. I had no sense of direction. I met a man on the roadside who told me that I was in Karmaling. Deorali stands on a hilltop.

There is a feeling of exuberance, like you are finally completing the 150-km-journey. The blacktopped road ends abruptly. There is a diversion without signboards. I took the road that appeared to be blacktopped but like looks can be deceiving, ended in potholes and cracks. I was on the wrong road—Karmaling gewog centre road.



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The road to Lhamoidzingkha town is no better. It is not blacktopped and one has to drive on gravel. Before reaching the town, there are four streams to cross, each bigger than the other. The road is only for Boleros trucks.

The stream is differently coloured—purplish—almost. The pebbles are green, red, and purple. Lhamoidzingkha or Kalikhola, thus named after a female deity Palden Lhamo or Maha Kali, is considered to be blessed. There are different coloured ridges like a mandala at Lama Lamini and the deity’s lake.

After more than 4km drive, I reached Lhamoidzingkha town. Huge acres of areca nut orchards line by the roadside. The whole landscape is a “doma tshang”. The old town was dismantled and was in ruins.

Residents said that the town development was put to halt as the Sunkosh project might end their problems. The project never came and the residents are paying the price. They go without power for days.

Categorie: Bhutan

Preparing Bhutanese youth to be life long learners and contributing citizens

The Bhutanese Expression - Ven, 20/05/2022 - 3:04pm

In keeping with the ongoing education reform initiatives, the education ministry in partnership with the Youth Development Fund, Loden Foundation and UNICEF Bhutan launched the Adolescents Skills and Employability (ASE) Project today. The project is expected to equip adolescents and youth with skills to become lifelong learners and positively engage in their communities among others. Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the Vice President of Youth Development Fund graced the launch. 

Initially, the project will be rolled out in 64 schools and 10 youth centres selected by the project committee. The project will prepare at least 10,000 young people with technical skills, entrepreneurial mind set and 21st-century skills by using two programmatic approaches called UPSHIFT and UNISOLVE, initiatives of UNICEF’s Office of Innovation.

UPSHIFT is a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship programme that supports adolescents and young people to identify problems in their communities and design solutions to tackle those problems. It is designed to bridge the gap between education systems and the work environment.

UNISOLVE is a digital platform that helps young people develop the critical skills they need. It allows students to join as a team and complete a self-paced interactive online curriculum. They put their newly acquired knowledge into practice by identifying problems in their communities and developing solutions to address them—applying research, prototyping, and iterative design methods throughout the process. The course culminates with a “pitch”, where students present their solutions for a chance to receive seed funding.

“So, the idea is, the students see issues in the community and then they try to use those ideas and then solve the problems in the community. And then through solving these problems, they also pitch ideas,” said Pema Wangchuk, Deputy Chief Program Officer of the School Planning and Coordination Division under the Education Ministry.

“There are two kinds of offerings, one is social entrepreneurship, getting young people to focus on what they can do in the communities through the schools and the Youth Centres and change some of the problems they are seeing in their communities. And there is another project which is focusing on digital skills, so how can people learn to work in the digital world, learn how to engage in the digital project as well,” said Dr Will Parks, UNICEF Country Representative.

At least 25 officials from agencies working with and for young people will be trained as master trainers from this month to roll out the UPSHIFT programme in 64 schools and 10 youth centres next month.

Also known as transferable skills or life skills, 21st Century skills allow young people to become agile learners and global citizens equipped to navigate personal, social, academic and economic challenges. These skills also help young people affected by crisis cope with trauma and build resilience. They include problem-solving, negotiation, managing emotions, empathy and communication.

Leveraging the digital platforms and partnerships, the ASE Project will inspire today’s young people to become tomorrow’s leaders.

“If I do not qualify from class 12, I can start a business. And this will not only benefit me but I can also provide job opportunities to others. This way, it will help reduce the unemployment rate in the country,” said Karma Lhendup, a student of Motithang Higher Secondary School.

From 64 schools, the education ministry will select and award cash prizes to the 12 best ideas by the end of this year.

UNICEF and its Office of Innovation are supporting four countries in South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and the Maldives to scale up a skilling program for eight million young people.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Sonam Pem

The post Preparing Bhutanese youth to be life long learners and contributing citizens appeared first on BBSCL.

Categorie: Bhutan