Themed “Leadership of the self through integrity,” the week long National Graduates Orientation Programme (NGOP) 2017 began on August 12 with 2,263 university graduates at the Royal Institute of Management in Thimphu.

The programme is designed with three main components of policy orientation, cultural orientation, and personal development where various government and non-government agencies would brief the graduates on different aspects of government’s policies and socio-economic issues.

Of the total 2,263 graduates, 1,423 are graduates from RUB colleges followed by 748 graduates from India, 39 from Thailand and the rest from Australia, United States, and the United Arab Emirates. Records show that 1,687 are general graduates and 576 technical graduates.

From the 2,843 graduates, who had registered for the programme, 504 were absent during document verification while 11 withdrew. Twenty-eight graduates had incomplete documents and 34 in-service graduates were excluded from the programme this year.

Each graduate is paid Nu 200 a day for meal and refreshment, a scheme that was introduced last year after they discontinued serving free lunch.

The NGOP is held to provide a forum for graduates to interact and share ideas with leaders and provide information on jobs and employment opportunities.

Some of the sessions for the graduates include challenges in free health care system, compact civil service in the face of growing unemployment among educated youth, Bhutanese agriculture challenges and opportunities for educated youth, facing life challenges and employment opportunities.

Graduates would also be oriented on promoting democracy in Bhutan, enhancing good governance, checks and balances and education.

Unlike last year, there will be a lucky draw every day at the end of session for graduates to win souvenirs, flight ticket to Bumthang or Yonphula, dinner with prime minister and stays in resorts.

The NGOP, which is conducted by the labour ministry ends on August 19.

A total of 19,660 university graduates, of which 11,009 were males, attended the orientation programme since 2008.

Yangchen C Rinzin