Youth today are mostly seen as a deficit model, a group that is generally associated with issues rather than solutions.
This outlook towards youth spontaneously corresponds to problem prevention measures instead of recognising the groups’ potential. The growing youth unemployment, drug related issues, fights and teenage pregnancies among others are some of the issues associated with youth in the country today.
However, a positive approach that recognises the potential of youth and the optimal utilisation of this potential is explored in a book, Youth Civic Engagement.
Coinciding with the Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The King, an alumnus of Sherubtse College, Dechen Rabgyal, released his first book at the college on February 21.
Dechen Rabgyal said the book is an expression of personal experiences fitted with international and national concepts. “Different people have different perspectives on youth,” he said. “The book explores means of productive engagement of youth that is geared towards achieving the national goals and aspirations.”
Of the many recommendations made in the book, the 28-year-old civil servant said that an action plan for National Youth Policy needs to be developed.
He said that recently, several youth groups were formed to empower the youth. However, he added that the groups are isolated and most of them function on their own. “If these groups can come together and collaborate in their activities, it could help in resource pooling and also address issues of duplication.” Despite the common goal and aspirations, different youth groups are guided by their mother institutions separately, he said.
The book also reflects the practice of tokenism, where youth are engaged in certain activities but the genuineness of the involvement remains doubtful. “What purpose does the engagement of the youth serve if their contribution doesn’t matter when it comes to decision making,” said Dechen Rabgyal. “The involvement and contributions of the youth need to be recognised.”
The importance of exploring community life by youth, he said, also remains critical in civic engagement. “Service learning, a practice that will allow students to put theoretical knowledge into practical usage will empower youth to seek career in activities such as agriculture,” he said. “With urbanisation, the generation gap has increases and this has distanced the youth from their roots back in the communities.”
“The book aims to bring about personality development of the individual, improve their bond with the society, make them aware of policies and help in the empowerment of the youth.”
Younten Tshedup | Kanglung