Yangchen C Rinzin

To cater to the increasing challenges and issues related to youth, the education ministry is revising the national youth policy (NYP) 2011.

In absence of a fixed rate of allowance for youth participating in various programmes and activities, it has made it difficult for agencies engaging youth to provide the basic needs and financial entitlements. The revised policy would include financial statements in the revised policy.

The revised NYP will also explore means to protect adolescents and youth, have a national coordination mechanism for youth initiative, and support to youth groups.

The revised policy will seek to re-define youth as aged between 10-24 years

For statistical purposes, the new policy would define youth as those aged between 10 and 24 and not 13-25 years.

Education secretary Karma Yeshey said that the review was long overdue. The 2011 policy stated that it should be amended after five years.

He said that youth being dynamic and cross cutting, policies and strategies that have been formulated since 2011 needed alignment.

“Since policies such as the Child Care and Protection Act (2011), Domestic Violence Prevention Act (2012) and amendment laws developed outside the education sector call for the realignment,” the secretary said.

“It was imperative to revise the policy to ensure that all sectors dealing with youth work in a synchronised manner.”

The secretary said since many agencies engage adolescents and youth in their programmes, there are a multitude of safety issues that need to be addressed.

“There’re a number of emerging youth led groups not registered as a CSO and a policy directive on such groups would be required,” Karma Yeshey said. “The revision will take into consideration those agencies working for young people to coordinate and avoid duplication of efforts.”

The decision to revise the policy was made during a stakeholder consultation in January that included youth representatives. Young individuals also recommended to revise the policy during the International Youth Day celebrations this year.

Secretary said that the NYP has contributed significantly to strengthening cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration amongst agencies working for and with young people.

“The policy has also facilitated the provision of youth programmes or services in a coordinated manner and today, we’ve agencies working for young people such as labour ministry and health ministry to provide them services,” he said.

“The policy has also led to the creation of many platforms for young people to come together, share their concerns and participate meaningfully.”

“One of the main challenges with the implementation of the policy was the absence of a national coordination mechanism,” the secretary said, adding this was one of the reasons why the policy failed to cater to the specific needs of young people.

With more than 30 percent of the population between 10-24 years, the secretary said that NYP plays an important role to guide planning and implementation of youth development initiatives.

“So the revision of the policy would ensure that all the needs and concerns of the youth are addressed.”

The revised policy is scheduled to be ready by June 2020.