Registering and signing up are different
Right after the registration for the Gyalsung Program opened on October 9, 2023, several Bhutan youth from within the country and outside began to register. As of October 12, 2023, 986 youth have registered, of which 970 are from Bhutan and 16 from outside. Of the 970, 523 are females and 447 males and from those who registered from outside, 10 are males and six females. Further 4,271 have signed up for the program. Of this 4204 are fro Bhutan and consists of 2291 females and 1913 males. 67 have signed up from outside Bhutan, which comprises of 27 males and 40 females. According to a Gyalsung official, sign up is the requirement of creating the Gyalsung account by Bhutanese youth when they turn 15 years old.
Meanwhile, officials from the Gyalsung Office say that there seems to be a misunderstanding that signing up for the Gyalsung program is like registration. Signing up is the first step towards registration. One has to firstly sign up and then later register.
One who has registered is Tandin Dorji, a Class XII commerce student from Gaedu Higher Secondary School,who said he couldn’t contain his excitement when the registration opened. He swiftly registered for the Gyalsung project. “With a program like this, the feeling was exhilarating because, after Class XII, many of us are left unemployed. With Gyalsung, we can engage in activities that we will learn in the Gyalsung program. It offers the much-needed opportunity for personal growth and skill enhancement and prepares us for the demands of the 21st-century world,” he said.
Additionally, Tandin’s enthusiasm was echoed by his peers, who are eager to participate in the program and have also registered.
Yangchen Choden, a class XII Arts student from the school was equally thrilled. “I registered and am very excited. My friends have all registered too, and they are as excited as me,” she said.
Namgay Wangmo, a Class XII science student from Peljorling Higher Secondary School, expressed her gratitude to His Majesty the King for the opportunity. She shared, “When I heard about the Gyalsung project, it filled me with excitement, and I was thrilled. As soon as our school administration announced the registration, I registered. I am physically and mentally prepared for the Gyalsung project.”
Rinchen Dorji, a Class XII arts student, underlined the Gyalsung Project’s unique role in providing youth with opportunities for self-development, skill enhancement, and personal growth. He added, “Our teachers have been guiding us through the registration process, briefing us on the rules and regulations. I am genuinely excited and committed to making the most of this opportunity.”
“All we have to do is register, and it is important for all youth to actively participate in the program, which will be very beneficial for all of us.”
Another aspiring student from Baylling Central School, Thinley Wangdi, shared his keenness for the program. “I too was excited about it as it is mainly for us. I think it will help us gain skills and I am ready for the program.” He also shared the widespread enthusiasm among his peers for the transformative opportunities offered by Gyalsung.
Schools have also started to prepare the students mentally and physically. Cheku Dorji, principal of Peljorling Higher Secondary School, shared that preparations for Gyalsung are in full swing, with screenings and mental health surveys completed in his school. “Based on our findings, we will continue with mentorship, coaching, and other supportive processes,” the principal said. Currently, the school is actively mentoring students through the registration process, with the IT section assisting in the registration of boarding students.
Collaborating with the Pema Secretariat, the school has also conducted workshops on health and well-being for better understanding of Gyalsung by students and for better participation in the program.
Similarly, Sangay Khandro, principal of Gedu Higher Secondary School, shared that to ensure a clean and healthy participation process, they are actively addressing issues such as substance abuse through mentoring and counseling, with the goal of preparing all participants both mentally and physically for the Gyalsung program by year-end.
Meanwhile, Bhutanese youth born in 2005 and who attain the age of 18 this year can register for the Gyalsung training program online. The Gyalsung National Service website allows eligible youths to sign up and register for the program. The launch of the Gyalsung project in 2024 is poised to equip young Bhutanese with personal attributes, discipline, and professional skills necessary for success in the 21st century. This not only promises to make them active contributors to the nation’s progress but also empowers them to forge their own paths in life.
The Gyalsung Act was adopted by the Parliament on November 11, 2022, and as envisioned by His Majesty the King, will provide the opportunity to each and every Bhutanese youth to actualize their innate potential and become productive and worthy citizens in the service of the Tsa-Wa-Sum.
The first batch of Gyalsung will undergo training from September 1, 2024, to January 15, 2025. It is estimated that from the second year approximately 13,000 eligible youths will be participating in the program. The objectives of Bhutan’s National Service (NS) are to endow the youth of Bhutan with the knowledge, skills, and values to actualize their potential in this rapidly changing world. This will enable them to contribute to national goals and aspirations. The training aims to empower the youth with the capabilities and attributes needed to succeed academically and professionally, enhance their awareness of the challenges that the country faces, and meaningfully engage them in finding and implementing collective solutions. It also aims to encourage volunteerism among citizens to foster the spirit of selfless service in enhancing the well-being of people and prepare future generations to fully shoulder their sacred responsibilities of upholding and promoting unity, peace, security, and sovereignty of the nation for all times to come.
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu