The government in its one-year report card has announced its major achievements for the past year and reaffirmed or laid out its path for the next four years in office.
Particular focus was paid on its steps in the field of of education and health and investments into the youth and also the related issue of employment.
It is now becoming increasingly clear that Bhutan’s most valuable resource is not its mines or even hydro electricity, but it is our people and particularly the youth who hold the future of the country in their hands.
The challenge is made more complex given our small population base and so every youth wasted or falling by the wayside is a major loss for society and country.
As a small country we cannot afford to have the complacency or even a sense of security of the bigger countries in the region and beyond.
If we take a look around the world, it is very clear that countries that are doing well are those who have invested in and are making good use of their human resources, and here size does not matter.
For comparative size, a good example is Singapore which has invested well in its youths over the decades and in the process built a citizenry that has created a world class economy that even rivals much bigger countries.
Bhutan has its own limitations but then again we have also a lot of natural advantages from political stability to a clean environment. While our small size maybe a weakness, it can also be our greatest strength to adapt quickly to changing times and preparing ourselves for unforeseen challenges.
Investing in Bhutan’s youth is a long term project and so it is all the more important to start early.
The vexing issue of youth unemployment is not just a reflection of the state of our economy or the private sector, but it is also equally a reflection of our inability to give employable skills to our youth.
Bhutan currently has the highest proportion of youth in South Asia. This can be either be a great future opportunity or a challenge -depending on what we do for them now.
You are only young once, and if you work it right, once is enough.
Joe E. Lewis