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Bhutan Observer
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Youth policy in the doldrums?
Administrator, June 01, 2012
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Even as youth-related problems are on the rise in the country, National Youth Policy, the overarching document that is expected to guide youth support programmes is yet to make any impact. The youth policy is supposed to create the “necessary space for all players to do what they can for the youth”. Right after the launch of the policy five months ago on December 7, 2011, a meeting was held among the stakeholders. Another meeting, which followed not long after, discussed the best ways to implement the policy and to create programmes for the youth. After that, the policy has remained on the shelf. “We do not want the policy to be a white elephant,” said Rinzin Wangmo, the chief programme officer of Department of Youth and Sports (DYS). DYS is the lead coordinating agency to develop youth-related schemes. The policy says DYS must be provided with adequate government authority, strong financial backing from the government, sufficient human resource support and be positioned strategically for it to carry out its mandate of developing youth development programmes as outlined in the policy. But meeting adequate resources, both in terms of human and financial, has been a challenge for the department. That is why, it has not been able to formulate a national youth action plan and develop specific projects in partnership with the stakeholders and define respective spheres of work. There is no timelines and indicators drawn for meeting commitments and to disseminate findings among stakeholders. The policy spells limited opportunities for employment for out of school youth, erosion of traditional values, impact of negative aspects of modernization, diminishing parental responsibility, limited facilities to engage youth in sports and recreational activities, increasing generation gap and conflict with law, among others, as critical youth issues. Meanwhile, a national steering committee on the youth policy was formed last month. The committee will develop an action plan. “We must ensure that whatever action plan we draw is relevant to our youth,” said Rinzin Wangmo. This, she added, will help in channeling the limited resources for effective use and prevent duplication of work among stakeholders. By Jigme Wangchuk

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