Minister for Home and Culture Affairs, Lyonpo Sherab Gyeltshen, said, “Though we had national service in the past, it was not comprehensive with proper plan and programs. I graduated in 1977, and after that, we had to go for national service for a period of 6 months. During those times, we went to different villages and we were asked to interact with our people, to know about the lives of our people. National Service, at that time, was limited to social services like improving water supply and toilet facilities.”
Lyonpo said that the concept of the National Service that His Majesty announced, on the 112th National Day in Thimphu, is different from the past national service.
Lyonpo said National Service or Gyalsung is not just a military training, but there is more to it. Besides military training, children attaining 18 years by 2020 will receive training in different fields, like agriculture, IT and entrepreneurship. Children will also learn Driglam Namzha, Bhutan’s code of etiquette, nation’s rich culture and tradition, and many more.
Home Minister said, “Though the Government has always remained committed towards nurturing and harnessing the youth and their potentials, however, some of them seem to be getting trapped in a wide array of problems. The crime, substance abuse, and mental disorders related to young population, among others, are few inter-related issues that are emerging as the policy concerns, and I feel that the National Service is the one solution for 100 problems that our young populace face. I am for it, and I am confident that it will be successful.”
The President of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan, Sonam Wangchuk, said that the National Service is a very valuable gift that His Majesty has enshrined on its citizens. DeSuung program has become very successful and people who have undergone the program have become responsible and productive Bhutanese citizens. Similarly, the National Service will have a much wider impact on its people.
He said, “I feel that once it is implemented, National Service will serve as the progressive sustainable roadmap for the future generation of the country because the younger generation and youths will be properly streamlined. It basically will allow them to understand what they want to do in life, how they could contribute in life, and how much value they can contribute to the nation’s development.”
“Nonetheless, the policy and rules and regulations needs to be properly streamlined which is a separate matter that can be further deliberated, but in general, the National Service is definitely a gift from the Throne,” he added.
Director General of Road Safety and Transport Authority, Pemba Wangchuk, said that Gyalsung is a big bang, a positive need of the situation. It means the youth of now and youth of future forming a big team to contribute to the security and socio-economic development of the country.
He said, “It is an answer, a solution of the times we are going through. The impact of Gyalsung will touch the heart of every Bhutanese, every family and every youth. I have children and I can see what it is.”
Principal of Zilukha Middle Secondary School, Dawa Tshering, said, “When His Majesty announced about the National Service, I felt quite relieved and excited because I feel that the youth of today are really in need of training like national service as announced by His Majesty.”
He pointed out that children do not get much time to think about anything apart from their studies. In addition, there are many youth-related issues as many of the youth are misguided. He said there is hope that the National Service will put them in the right direction and are better trained to be better citizens.
The Principal said, “I feel that by the time our children turn 18 years, they should be ready to take up the National Service. And one-year training includes 3-months military training and 9 months training in other areas. Three months military training will teach them discipline and accepting orders, and later they will learn values and life in the rural areas, and the type of the changes we are going through.”
A businessman, Kinley Gyelpo, said that for a country, like Bhutan, where youth unemployment is one of the major issues, the National Service program or training is one of the best solutions for the children. “The three-month military training will teach our children discipline and military skill, and 9 months long training will train them in various fields, within a very short span of time. This will help our children to let them decide what they want to specialize in the future,” he said.