The National Graduates Orientation Program (NGOP) is being organized every year with numerous objectives of enlightening the graduates on the policies, basic culture and tradition of the country, and instigate positive outlook in life.
The more than a week long program also focuses to provide the much anticipated information on jobs and employment opportunities in the country where the graduates are given the platform to interact and share ideas with the prominent national figures in the country.
With each passing year the sessions for the National Graduates Orientation Program has been slowly shifting its paradigm from the mostly government oriented sessions to introducing prominent Civil Society Organizations and entrepreneurs in order to encourage more entrepreneurship and private sector growth in the country.
With the introduction of more of such sessions during the NGOP, some of the young graduates expressed that they are made aware about the diverse opportunities ahead of them, which ultimately helps in not confining their interest and hope only in the limited government sector.
A graduate with the degree in Architecture, Jigme Lhendup who is attending the ongoing NGOP, said that he found the sessions were quite balanced between government and private sectors. “Since entrepreneurship in Bhutan is budding, the talks on it received enthusiasm and priority in the hall. The talks on the government and private orientations were balanced but I feel that the young entrepreneurs captured the hearts of the participants and I am very inspired and driven to form my own business ideas,” said Jigme Lhendup.
Similarly, an Engineering student who graduated from China, Namgyal Dorji seconded similar views and said that the sessions on entrepreneurs and private sectors were more encouraging where his hopes were renewed that civil service is not only the option for the graduates in the market. “Even if we do not get through the RCSE exams, it is not the end of the world, there are private sectors in need of skilled graduates and we can also venture into entrepreneurship as it is being vigorously promoted and supported by the government in collaboration with various financial institutions.”
Damchoe Thinley who studied Bachelors in Engineering in IT from CST also added that he is determined to pursue private jobs and it helped him in imbibing the sense that people working in the private sectors can also be more successful than those working as civil servants.
Kushap Khaflay, a civil engineering graduate from College of Science and Technology however felt that the sessions were more of government oriented, but he said that it did not dim the spark brought about by sessions on entrepreneurship, Civil Society Organization, and private sectors. “The interactive and encouraging sessions by the private sectors where they shared their ideas, struggles, and their strategies were very much relevant to what we will be facing from here on, so that inspired me a lot.” Kushap also feels that not getting through the Royal Civil Service Examination is not the end of career.
On the other hand Govinda Adhikari, who completed his degree in architecture from Calcutta, said that the sessions were very ‘government oriented.’ He said that the sessions other than on the government agencies inspired him, but that his first option will always be in the government sector. “Businesses are very risky if it doesn’t go as planned and it is same with jobs in private sector without much security, whereas government jobs are very secure and it will be my first priority.”
On the sessions in the NGOP being more of ‘government oriented’ officials from the Labour Ministry said that since the socio-economic, political policy and legal framework for the country are laid by government sector bodies, and initiatives by both government and non-government sectors are based on it, it is important for young graduates entering into the job market to be informed on such aspects.
“This year, we had four sessions per day, which were allocated to various government agencies. Sessions were also allocated to young entrepreneurs namely Druk Ride, Youth in Agriculture Programme, an I-Hub and NGOs like Bhutan Toilet and Clean Bhutan. As the employment opportunities in the civil service are limited, sessions from BDBL and REDCL were also included in order to inform the graduates on the access to credit facilities.” said the official. She also added that the idea behind this was to encourage graduates to venture in to entrepreneurship and self-employment. “Similarly, interested Bhutanese Overseas Employment Agents have also set up stalls to disseminate more awareness on overseas employment opportunities available for the graduates.”
The Ministry also selected ten canteens/restaurant owners through open tender to put up food and refreshment stalls to cater to the graduates during the program. The stalls were provided for free to the canteen/restaurant owners in order to keep the food prices low and affordable for the graduates.