Yangchen C Rinzin

More than one in three students could not study at home as they were engaged in households chores during the pandemic, a regional study has found.

Of the 396 who participated in the UNICEF’s U-Report South Asia poll, the biggest concern for more than 100 Bhutanese youth was about not having time to study at home due to household work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings also saw that almost an equal number of youth feel they were given too much schoolwork. No or limited access to online learning, worry about the exam, and difficult to study in the home environment were their other major concerns.

The UNICEF’s U-Report is a free online tool to communicate and share issues that matter to youth. It allows young people from any community, anywhere in the world to speak out, respond to such polls and contribute to the positive changes.

More than 300 students also said they faced challenges in studying during this pandemic while others said it has been difficult to deal with the people they live with.

The poll questions are related to how students feel during this pandemic period and the challenges they face.

The answers also revealed that many Bhutanese youth received emotional support from family, youth groups, and counselling through online during such times.

Many had asked the students how they were doing and listened to what they were going through, instead of judging them.

UNICEF plans to use the poll findings to plan upcoming activities and help the government plan better interventions and activities for children and young people, according to a UNICEF official.

“These would be worked with relevant partners where to report and what to do to help youth,” the official said.

The findings also showed that majority of the youth get their information on Covid-19 through social media followed by the mainstream media.

More than 100 students said that they were indifferent to the situation while more than 90 students felt sad, stressed, and angry.

More than 60 students feared that they or their families would be infected with the virus, while more than 30 youth shared that they feared that the country will not have access to enough medicine or care or access to enough water and soap.

A few feared they would not get care if they test positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Sherig Counselling under the Department of Youth and Sports, education ministry received a total of 936 cases seeking counselling as per the real-time report maintained by the department every day.

Of which 488 are female. Majority of the clients were aged 15-17 years.

This week the division received 15 cases as of yesterday. In October there were 499 cases and 422 cases in September.

More than 700 preferred face-face mode of counselling followed by mobile video call, Messanger, and WeChat app.

More than 600 cases are still on-going while 35 were referred to hospital, about four referred to mental health focal at the national referral hospital, and about four to NCWC.

More than 50 percent of the issues were related to academic concerns, and other academic issues like not being able to respond to online classes, the decline in the standard of academic work, study stress, school dropout, and substance abuse.

Other issues reported include family-related issues, child protection issues, anxiety, illicit relationship, and suicidal trauma.


If anyone needs counselling or support on any issues, the Sherig Counselling Service Facebook page has the phone numbers of counsellors across the country.