To prevent coming in conflict with laws, programmes planned to engage youth 

KP Sharma

As schools close for the winter vacation, the Royal Bhutan Police has alerted all the division heads, urging them to plan and implement strategies within their respective regions to prevent youth from coming into conflict with law.

Incidents of youth crime including students have been increasing during the winter vacation every year. This has compelled the law enforcement authorities and relevant agencies to formulate their own strategies to engage youth and discourage them from participating in criminal activities.

An official from the police headquarter in Thimphu said that preventing students from engaging in criminal activities requires collective action and should not be left completely

on the police. The official stressed that the police have already implemented appropriate measures in urban and populated areas. Police sources said that night patrolling, monitoring town activities, sudden checks and frisks are common practices employed by the police to prevent crime.

On the other hand, the Department of Education Programmes, MoESD will soon launch programmes aimed at keeping students engaged during the winter break.

Unlike in the previous years, the newly introduced winter youth resilience and development programme is a 14-day residential initiative scheduled to take place in four regions of Punakha, Trashigang, Samtse and Zhemgang.

The programme, scheduled for January will engage 320 students and eight scout leaders.

The Chief Counsellor at the Department of Career and Counselling Division, Reena Thapa, said that in the past there were only few centers catering to about only 60 students.

However, in the initial phase of this year’s programme, it aims to cover 12 dzongkhags and one thromde.

According to Reena Thapa, Samtse would host 80 girl students from Chukha and Phuentsholing thromde, while Zhemgang would host 80 girls from Sarpang and Trongsa.

Similarly, Punakha and Trashigang centers would host 40 boys and 40 girls each, along with students from Wangdue, Lhuntse and Pemagatshel.

The selection of students will be carried out by respective dzongkhag focal counsellors, senior counsellors and counsellors. The programme aims to impart resilience building and life skills to students, facilitated by school counsellors, teacher scout master, health in-charge, and a school sports instructor.

Reena Thapa said that the programme would be expanded to other dzongkhags in the upcoming years to cater to all interested students.

In addition, the Program and Youth Coordination Division will further initiate more youth engagement activities in 13 youth centers facilitated by youth volunteers and coordinators.  Further, a chess competition is among the attractive activities planned for the 12-day program.

Moreover, sports coaching for about 100 children aged between eight and thirteen will be conducted in Lungtenphu and Dechencholing in Thimphu for seven days.