Hopes and fears of young graduates

As more than 2,300 graduates complete their National Graduate Orientation Program (NGOP) this year at the Royal Institute of Management Hall, there will be many important lessons.

The RIM is located below Bhutan’s historic Semtokha Dzong which was also the first major Dzong built in Bhutan by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel in 1629 and served as a political and cultural symbol of a united and sovereign Bhutan.

Graduates can be proud of the nation’s proud and independent history and its rich political and cultural heritage. Their young shoulders and minds will have to bear the future responsibility of taking this rich and proud legacy forward.

The graduates above all had the honour of being addressed by His Majesty the King who reminded the graduates to persevere and strive for excellence. His Majesty also touched upon several key national issues like sovereignty, unity, education, employment, 11th plan, culture, democracy and development.

At a time when petty discourses and issues have dominated the national discourse, it is both refreshing and inspiring to hear His Majesty the King whose message has implications and reverberations for the whole nation.

His Majesty the King’s reference to the continued task for nation building and how many goals are yet to be achieved, should be an important indicator for our young graduates. The graduates should contemplate and reflect on this even in their everyday activities at the NGOP.

It has been noticed that many graduates were walking back and forth from the orientation and using public transport. They should realize that many of their parents and in some cases they themselves could not avail private cars due to a long two year vehicle import ban.

This should make them realize the still grave economic situation the country is in even though the ban has been lifted now. For the greater good of the nation they should stick to public transport for the sake of the economy, environment and traffic congestion in a car obsessed society. They should also do more walking wherever logically feasible as it builds character and is good for health.

While the graduates walked they would have noticed some pot holes which many tried to avoid by walking side or jumping over or the poor condition of public infrastructure. Our young graduates a sizeable number of whom would be joining the government should realize that public infrastructure like roads, water supply and etc lack quality in Bhutan. This is due to the twin maladies of poor implementation and also corruption in our public works and procurement. Maybe they could help clean up the system or give it a fresh start.

During the NGOP the graduates will have been introduced to Bhutan’s democracy by interacting with the highest elected officials. The graduates will also have noticed that along with the news on NGOP the media has become bolder. The graduates themselves are not afraid to speak out their minds on national issues. The graduates would also all be of the voting age with the power to keep or remove entire governments.

Bhutanese graduates less than a decade did not have the same privileges. Our young graduates should be mindful that this valuable gift of democracy and democratic rights has been conferred on them and the people in general by the Golden Throne. The young graduates should use these rights not only to enjoy them and shape their own futures but also fulfill their duties and responsibilities to the Tsa-Wa-Sum of King, Country and People and advance the shared goal of nation building.

The top most concern on the minds of our young graduates would be if they will be able to land a good job so that they can support themselves and their family and also contribute to the country. Their concern is valid as though overall unemployment may stand at a deceptive 2.9 percent youth employment is much higher at 9.6 percent.

Graduates who cannot find jobs despite their best efforts must not despair. They should avail of every opportunity and enhance dignity of labor by being prepared to do less conventional jobs like blue collar jobs.

Apart from all the big issues our young graduates must also strive to be good and conscientious citizens contributing in even small ways for a harmonious and happy society and a strong sovereign nation.


“You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.” Ogden Nash


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