The Gyalsung Bill being presented in National Council

The first batch of Gyalsung is expected to commence in 2024

As envisioned by His Majesty The King, Gyalsung will provide the opportunity to each and every Bhutanese youth to actualize their innate potential and become productive and worthy citizens in the service of the Tsa-Wa-Sum.

Approximately 13,000 eligible youths will undergo a one-year training in the five Gyalsung academics spread across the country starting in 2024.

The objectives of Bhutan’s National Service (NS) can be summarized as endowing the youth of Bhutan with the knowledge, skills and values to actualize their potential in this rapidly changing world.

This will enable them to contribute to national goals and aspirations.

The training aims to empower the youth with the capabilities and attributes needed to succeed academically and professionally, and enhance the awareness of the youth about the challenges that the country faces and meaningfully engage them in finding and implementing collective solutions.

It also aims to encourage volunteerism among the citizens to foster the spirit of selfless service in enhancing the well-being of the people, and prepare the future generations to fully shoulder their sacred responsibilities of upholding and promoting unity, peace, security and sovereignty of the nation for all times to come.

The one-year integrated training program includes three months of basic military training, followed by specialized skills training in various areas that are critical for personal self-development as well as enhancement of self-reliance and national security. Upon completion of the one-year training program, Gyalsups may be called for both Mandatory Duty and Voluntary Duty until the age of 35 years.

Upon completion of NS Duty, NS Personnel shall remain as Reservists until they attain the age of 45 years, at which point, they complete the NS obligations. Thereafter, they may volunteer to join De-Suung.

The enactment of the Gyalsung Act will be followed by the establishment of the institutions, systems, rules and regulations, and the activation of processes that have to necessarily precede the launch of Gyalsung training.

One of the fundamental principles of the Gyalsung is its inclusive, equitable and universal character. Regardless of the place of domicile and education, all Bhutanese citizens who attain the age of 18 years shall be required to undergo the one-year training.

In the event an eligible youth who has the obligation to undergo Gyalsung training will have been deemed to have defaulted on his or her obligations, and committed an offence of felony for not fulfilling one of the most important Fundamental Duties of a Bhutanese citizens. Therefore, Gyalsung Program foresees that many Bhutanese youth who are abroad will return home to join the Gyalsung training.

Although the age of at least 18 years is the primary entry point for Gyalsung training, class and age of a student do not have to match. However, based on the existing policy of starting Pre-Primary School at the age of 5/6 years, most youths are likely to complete class XII when they are around 18 years.

However, those who are studying can apply for and will receive deferment until the completion of Class XII or its equivalent. For those completing high school early, there is provision for early enlistment at 16 and half years of age with the consent of parents or legal guardians.

If the person is, however, a student in Class IX, X, XI or XII when he or she is 18 years of age or even older, the person will be eligible for deferment and will be permitted to complete Class XII and be required to join only thereafter. The details of these issues will be outlined in the Gyalsung Rules and Regulations after the enactment of the Gyalsung Act.

If the student fails and does not choose to repeat, he or she will be eligible for Gyalsung training. If the student wishes to repeat Class XII, that option can be given in the interest of the youth. But he or she must report for Gyalsung training the following year. Similarly, if the student wishes to re-sit the Class XII examination once again despite having passed, that option too will be given.

Meanwhile, the Gyalsung Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2022 was introduced to the National Assembly. His Majesty The King commanded the drafting of the Bill to the National Service Core Working Group led by Dasho Sonam Kinga (Ph.D) who is a former Member of Parliament.

The House deliberated the Bill comprehensively, after which the National Assembly passed the Bill unanimously with the support of all the 45 members present and voting. The National Assembly members offered prayers and reverence for the realization of the noble vision of His Majesty. The Bill was also passed in the National Council of Bhutan and will now head for Royal Assent.  

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