International Youth Day celebrations 2019
Yesterday was International Youth Day celebrations. And I was invited to attend the celebrations at Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) complex, which was organized by Youth Centre Division with support from UNICEF. Actually, my chief was invited but since she was not in station, I was asked to officiate and represent our office for this important occasion.
So, I went to DYS. It was a bright morning with a promise of the sun for the whole day. Hon’ble PM was the chief guest, along with 3 other ministers, few secretaries and the who’s of Bhutan’s international community, especially those housed in the UN compound; UNRC, representatives from UNICEF and others.
I espied more than 200 youth, from different youth-led groups already inside by the time I entered the DYS auditorium at around 9 am.
Young People Must Learn To Learn
The UN Resident Coordinator was very explicit in pointing out that ‘…young people must learn how to learn’, with strong emphasis on the inability of the present education system of Bhutan not fulfilling this aspect. But he was genuine in his appreciation of the government in providing scholarships to those needy students who did not qualify for public schools, to continue their education in private schools in Bhutan. He also stressed that pumping money in ECCD today will reduce future expenses for education and health care tomorrow.
The UNICEF spokesperson emphasized the need to prepare children for an ever-evolving job market, in an unpredictable future. He noted that investing in young people is investing in the future of Bhutan for Sustainable Development.
Of the many programs that were presented, including a skit and a short-video, I was more interested in the findings of a youth group. They had done some brainstorming among themselves to find out some issues that were pertinent to youth and the day’s theme of ‘transforming Education’. They had deliberated and come up with some concerns and recommendations, which they shared to the congregation present.
After tea, there was a panel-discussion on the day’s theme, with participation from education and labor ministry, royal education council and other relevant authorities. I stayed at DYS till the lunch hour.
In the evening I was invited by Youth Caring Community (YCC) to grace their celebration of IYD 2019, which was happening at Roya Textile Academy (RTA) compound. YCC was having their National Young Achievers Award 2019 which they had initiated since last year. And since I had worked with youth my entire life, I was asked to be one of the juries for the first round of judging the top 5 from the different categories. I had given my verdict a month ago.
So here I was, supporting the work by some notable youth and youth groups. The evening celebrations was a mixture of dance performances and awards. Even the rain did not dampen the mood of the celebration. There were cash prizes for the winners and certificates for the top two runners up.
I attended till 9pm and made my way home.
Back home I checked my Facebook and came to know that Youth Development Fund (YDF) had also celebrated the day with a panel-discussion between the young members of parliament and the youth in the evening. The programme was supported by UNDP. They had discussed around the theme ‘Youth and young Parliamentarians: Tapping the Potential of Youth’.
Celebration in Silo
The International Youth Day 2019 was celebrated in three different venues in Thimphu City alone, organized by three different agencies. The spread of audience was also thin, with the day programme at DYS attracting some 200 youth mostly from tertiary institutions. The evening programme at RTA too was some 250 strong, consisting mostly of students. I can only assume about the attendance at YDF, but I am sure it might not have crossed 200.
Instead of spreading the celebration across different venues and organized by different agencies, why can’t we do it in one place? Why can there be a youth festival, where all the activities can happen in one place? I am sure all these can be brought under one umbrella.
If so, therein will be true success. Working collaboratively for one common cause. Instead of working in silos.