Recently the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) identified 25 areas of action for a multi-dimensional approach toward development which the party will work on if the party gets elected. This time, out of the 25 areas, DCT came up with the discussion on youth related problems, in a recent press conference.
The party president Lily Wangchhuk shared during the press conference that the issue has been picked up after a lot of discussion in the media recently about youth participation in democracy.
She said, “We have been very concerned to hear a lot of youths do not want to go and exercise their votes”. She feels this is a matter of great concern.
She said the main objective of the meeting is to send the message to all the young people not to shy away with the responsibility of participating in the process of democracy, rather it needs to come in big numbers especially for the 2013 election.
One of the strategies of DCT includes empowering youth for a progressive Bhutan.
The press conference talked about what DCT has planned to empower youth for a better tomorrow.
“At the time when public budget are in constraints and when economic situation has gone down and unemployment is on the rise and youth related issues are also on the rise, there is no greater need than now to involve and engage our young people in the democratic process,” the party president said.
DCT believes youth often have different experiences and views to adults, which enrich discussions and decision-makings. It stands by the belief that it is very important for youth to be engaged in decisions that affect their lives and the community’s lives.
President Lily said “Change is possible when young people are involved and Political parties need to be responsive to the voices and challenges faced by youth for a better tomorrow,” adding “‘young people are motivated by issues, and these issues are often relevant to the wider community”.
The party feels that youth participation today will contribute toward a better tomorrow. Because of that DCT is attaching a lot of importance to engagement, consultations, and involvement of the youth in the political process.
Realizing the importance of youth for better tomorrow, youth empowerment is therefore one of DCT’s top 25 areas of action.
A DCT party office member said “We intend to work toward a empowered youth for progressive Bhutan by providing opportunities for youth to enhance their interests, skills, and abilities into their adulthood, complemented with appropriate structures, supportive relationships, positive norms and opportunities for young people.”
DCT has established a youth division in the party and is in the process of establishing a youth division in all 20 Dzongkhags where youth coordinators are also appointed in each Dzongkhags, and voluntary services will be rendered.
The party has more than 500 youth members across the country.
Through the consultative meetings in all the Dzongkhags with the youth members, youth related issues and challenges, causes and solutions will be identified.
Later this information from 20 Dzongkhags will be shared with the party secretariat in Thimphu.
DCT will compile all the findings together and mainstream them in the party manifesto to come up with concrete results for it to be doable or practical.
“This is DCT’s strategy,” said the DCT president.
DCT believes in finding the root causes, and later, the solutions from youth themselves.
Over the last couple of months, several consultative meetings were conducted in Thimphu with large involvement of youth where youth related problems were identified.
Party president Lily Wangchhuk was impressed with the youth and said, “We have the tendency to believe that youth are so young and they lack experience and they don’t know much, but I would like to say this is a wrong notion because our youth knows best. The solution of their own problems, and they even know the cause,” she added saying, “I think if we take that approach, there is no way that we cannot solve youth related problems.”
Moreover, “I think the value addition we have here is, they are the stakeholders and they are looking at empowered youths and by involving them in a consultative meeting in decision making, it has really given us lot of ideas or inputs to address youth issues,” she said.
Following a consultative meeting, one of the major findings was ‘Unemployment’, was the biggest challenge faced by the youth today.
With huge number of youths unemployed, the youth believe that depression, suicide, substance abuse, gang culture, teenage pregnancy, school drop-outs are interconnected with unemployment.
According to the DCT youth members, the causes of the unemployment problems are mismatch of jobs and skills, weak implementation of education system in line with the curriculum which lacks creativity and analytical thinking, limited institutes and colleges, nepotism, inadequate career education which also needs to be started at young age from class 6 onwards.
Annual job fairs had not met the purpose but it was more of platform for promotion of business organizations.
The DCT also said that the government’s unemployment rate was not accurate.
To address this intervention, DCT plans to work closely with the private sector by creating enabling environment for private sector development and as well as with incentives.
DCT also plans to come up with more number of VTIs as well as more number of seats in the country to provide enhanced skills development and internship opportunities for youth.
Additionally, it would promote better working environment for blue collar jobs and even a transparent recruitment system. It will further strengthen career education in Schools and encourage entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation amongst youth.
DCT also indentified that the easy availability of drugs despite strict laws, peer pressure, influence of commercial films, lack of awareness, lack of adequate support at home, domestic violence, lack of policies that addresses youth related issues are main causes of substance abuse, suicide, depression, gang culture, teenage pregnancy, high school drop-outs and sexual harassment.
DCT believes that the solution to youth problems is not through punishment but to address the root cause of youth related problems with a multi-dimensional approach.
It intends to address the challenges related to substance abuse by enhancing greater awareness amongst youth, strictly monitoring and controlling the inflow of drugs into the country, supporting and increasing the number of rehabilitation center, enhanced counseling, introducing sex education in schools, encouraging better relationship between youth, teachers and parents.
It also intends to promote youth associations, support networking opportunity for Bhutanese youth, encourage volunteerism, support enhanced sport facilities, introduce civic education and human values in schools, introduce positive reforms in the education system to encourage higher creativity, innovation and analytical ability and provide adequate platform for youth voices and their participation in decision making and institute youth friendly policies in keeping with the changing environment.
In addition, through special incentives DCT will encourage FDI and private sector organizations which provide more employment opportunities for youth.
DCT remains open to more youth participation and encourages all Bhutanese youth to play an active in the political process by not only voting at the elections but by sharing voices and suggestions with the political parties for a ‘better tomorrow’.