Bleak picture of employment

Published on Nov 10 2009 // Main News

November 10, 2009: In his address to the graduation ceremony, Prime Minister Jigmi Thinely had urged the young graduates to seek job placement in private sector, providing hints the government could absorb only few of those passed.

In the upcoming civil service commission exams, only 336 graduates will get job in government offices out of 989 appearing it. Last year the figure of young people entering the government job was 806.

The government wants only 706 general, 254 technical and 29 Dzongkha graduates. The highest number of general graduates, 125, will be taken in for the postgraduate diploma in education (PGDE) Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) said.

The RCSC will employ 40 as Dzongkha teachers, 30 as Physics/Mathematics teachers, 15 as Biology/Chemistry teachers and ten teachers each as History, English, Geography, Economics and Commerce.

According to the RCSC, there are 15 vacancies for general graduates as assistant lecturers in colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB). The Sherubtse College in Kanglung and the Gedu College of Business Studies (GCBS) each require six assistant lecturers. Three will be taken into Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS), Jigme Namgyel Polytechnic (JNP) and the College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing.

RSCS will also take 22 civil engineers, 14 of whom will be posted in the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS).

The list of young people completing graduates is long and number getting job is short. The government is increasingly facing difficulties in meeting the challenge of cutting unemployment rates. The country has high economic growth, at around 8 percent, but is being infected with virus of high unemployment rate. In the last few years, the construction industry grew by over 20 percent while creating only 3 percent employment.

Paradoxically, the country invited some 500 teachers from Canada last year to meet teacher shortage. The in-country graduates are reluctant to take up teaching job.

At the root of the problem is an education system which does not succeed in producing qualified manpower, thus leading to the risk of creating strong social tensions. Besides graduates, there are large number of young people between 15 and 19 years of age dropped out of school who remain unemployed.

There are large number of Indians working in government offices, private sector and construction industry. Exact data is not available but estimation puts at 20,000 to 30,000. According to RMA, foreign workers in Bhutan employed in the construction sector extract more than 41 million US dollars from the national economy per year.

In one of his comments, Minister for Works and Human Settlement Yeshey Zimba said one of the biggest economic challenges facing Bhutan is finding employment for 40 percent of the population aged under 20 years.