We have all been talking and debating about the large numbers of youths and professionals headed to Australia in recent times.
It is now time to accept that this is Bhutan’s biggest crisis in recent times. It is also important to note that the loss is not only to Australia but also to the Middle East and other countries.
The loss of professionals is already hollowing out the medical and education sector.
Our teachers are supposed to teach the next generation, but what kind of next generation will we have when our experienced teachers leave.
This is not accounting for the losses in professional groups like engineers, accountants, aviation specialists, lawyers, architects, agriculturalists and much more.
We have to now take into account also the loss of large numbers of young graduates and young professionals just starting out.
We are losing an entire generation of future leaders, professionals, business people etc.
Apart from the long term impact, the loss of such a large number of young people is also having an immediate impact on business outlets in the country.
While countries like India, Bangladesh and Nepal can afford to have large numbers going out the same is disastrous for Bhutan.
We can already see many shops, restaurants and business outlets complaining of a sharp drop in local customers in recent times.
The impact is now moving beyond quality to sheer quantity.
It is now becoming clear that if such numbers keep up in the coming months and years then Bhutan may suffer the fate of ‘Gyal Tong.’
We can criticize and say this is a heard mentality, but the herd is moving and in large numbers.
Such large numbers of people will not only impact the quality of people in the civil service, professionals, private sector etc, but lesser people will mean lesser national capacity and also lesser customers.
Some may celebrate the remittance that will come, but this will only be temporary as international studies show that remittances decline dramatically by the time of the second generation.
Even for all the remittances in the short term, the same Bhutanese will be contributing far more to the Australian economy with their work and consumption.
For us to be able to even start to fix a problem, we have to first start by recognizing that we have a serious and growing problem at hand, the likes of which Bhutan has not seen in a long time.
“Close scrutiny will show that most ‘crisis situations’ are opportunities to either advance, or stay where you are.”