To prepare young minds to create jobs for themselves and for others, the labour ministry has been initiating clubs in schools across the country. And recently, the ministry launched Rig Tsel Yarphel or skills development clubs at Shaba Higher Secondary School in Paro. By becoming members of the clubs, the students will learn skills in tailoring, weaving, painting and haircutting. The clubs are part of the ministry’s initiatives to address youth unemployment in the country which currently stands at close to 21 per cent.
Of close to 500 students in the school, almost 100 registered to become members of the various clubs.
Every day, the students get an hour after their regular academic classes to learn how to sew costumes and cut hair. This kind of skills development programme is expected to promote an entrepreneurship culture among the children. It is also to encourage students to perceive self-employment as a sustainable career option.
“Currently, I am studying in class IX and it will take another five to six years to complete my studies. When I enter the job market it will be challenging as it is already competitive. So, if I learn some skills when I am in school, I will be able to sustain myself in future,” said Jigme Tenzin Doya, a student of Shaba HSS.
“These days people are more focused on looks and physical appearance. So, I see more opportunities in jobs such as hairdressing. Moreover, we don’t have many people skilled in hairdressing for both genders in our country. So, this leaves us opportunities and that’s why I joined the hairdressing club,” said Tandin Wangmo, another student of the school.
“I have been interested in weaving since my childhood days. I learnt it from my mother. If we can prosper in weaving, we can also provide job opportunities to others. For now, there is no guarantee that our academic performance would give us any job,” added Sonam Pelden, another student who joined the weaving club.
Teachers with basic experience in weaving, tailoring and haircutting are teaching the skills to students. They will soon have a painting club too.
“With the start of the clubs, many students expressed interest to join these clubs. So, the school had to give preference to the ones coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Phub Dorji, a teacher at Shaba HSS.
The students will also receive photography equipment and hands-on training soon. The Labour Ministry through the Start-Up and Cottage and Small Industry Flagship programme and Nazhoen Lamtoen, a CSO are supporting the initiative.
Namgyel Wangchuk, Paro
Edited by Phub Gyem