Returning graduates

Since the start of planned modern development in our country, one of our biggest constraints to progress has been the consistent shortage of human resources. We simply did not have enough skilled and qualified people required to initiate and sustain development. So when our students studying in India and beyond returned home after they graduated, we welcomed them back eagerly. And we were proud of the fact that they – almost every single one of them – chose to return home instead of working abroad.

Not any more. Recently, 100 graduates completed a month-long training at Infosys. 37 of them were offered jobs in India. But of them, only 9 have accepted the offers. The rest want to work in Bhutan. We, however, want them to work in India. Lyonpo Nandalal Rai reportedly spent an hour trying to persuade them that they should “not waste such an opportunity”. And many of us, led by the media, have quickly cast them as ungrateful youth who are “shaming the country.”

We’ve stopped welcoming back our graduates with open arms. Instead, we’re encouraging them to work in India.  And if, for whatever reason, they don’t, we attack them. I am concerned.

True, unemployment is real. The government estimates that there are already about 13,000 unemployed youth, the majority of them between the ages of 15 and 24. But shaming our youth into accepting foreign jobs is not the solution. Instead, we should see them as a scarce resource, which, indeed, they are. And we should make full use of this resource to strengthen our economy which, after decades of modern development, is still largely dependent on foreign aid and loans.

Graduates who chose to work in Bhutan are not the problem. They are part of the solution. Without them – and there are another 1,330 graduates currently attending an orientation – it would be virtually impossible to develop the vibrant economy that we badly need.

The government is building an IT park, our first, in Babesa. This is good news. Some of us are concerned that the refusal of the graduates to accept the Infosys and Genpak jobs in India will discourage international businesses from investing in the IT park. The opposite may, in fact, be true. We can now convince potential investors that we have enough qualified graduates. And, more importantly, that they prefer to work in Bhutan.


Facebook Comments:


  1. And India is only right next door.

    Apparently everything loves Bollywood, and is fine with consuming products from India; just don’t ask them to work there.

    I am in complete agreement with the article in Bhutan Today. But for me, the key question is, why were these graduates selected to go for the training when they are unwilling to take up the offer from Infosys? Common sense dictates that the training slots should have been given to those who have indicated they are willing and able to take up the Indian posting if offered.

    It is naive to think that employers will prefer to hire graduates who are:
    1. Afraid of change / risk-averse / not entrepreneurial
    2. Tied to their mother’s apron strings

  2. I too want to know “why were these graduates selected to go for the training when they are unwilling to take up the offer from Infosys?”


    Honorable OL,

    I totally disagree with you here.

    I would prefer if our people go and work there, earn some good money. And more than that get some work culture, discipline, dignity of labour and come back and open their own firms.

    Bangalore’s cyber City was started by such people coming from the Silicon Valley. I know at least three of them.

    Being under big daddy’s arms is our way of helping the government in keeping the unemployment problem alive.

  4. I agree with OL and some others who pointed out that these graduates should not have been selected in the first palce to be trained. This is a tuypical example of how our government makes blunt abrupt decisions. The very people who selected them for training should be questioned because part of the problem may be that they were just selected for the heck of it and sent for training not even considering the briefing of what they will be required to do next. It is irresponsible decision.

  5. Hmmmmm I am quiet undecided on the issue. I am also not quite sure that persons who have undergone a month long training can be considered suitable to man and drive our IT Park initiative. What could they have learnt in one month?

    Frankly, I am in favor of these guys accepting the job offer from Infosis to gain experience and learn the ropes of the business. Then come back in about 1-2 years when they will be ready and prepared to take up managerial posts.

    Further, it will be a few years before our IT Park will be ready to go into operation. So, why not take up jobs in India in the meantime? But the truth may be that these trainees who took up the training do not really need the job. If that is the truth, then the question to be asked is: Why give training opporutnities to those who can afford it? Why not to those who cannot afford it?

  6. sorry to disagree with OL, but it is trend that makes me go tut tut and say ‘typical’.
    Hear all these vocational institute grads saying that they don’t get jobs when they get out of the training institutes? the truth is that they don’t want to do menial work, plumbing, construction, etc. But still, when they get a ‘training opportunity’, they go ahead and take it, because they don’t have to do any work and get stipend. They know well from the beginning what kind of work they are trained for. If they are not willing to take on the job, they should not accept training opportunities at all. We want to sit around ‘training’, getting stipend for doing nothing, but it comes to work, it is another matter altogether. Graduates who come to work are not the solution when they are not willing to work at all. By the way, about returning graduates, Ill bet that these grads would definitely not have returned if the place they were offered a job was not India, but UK or US. I doubt they are people who want to ‘work in the country’. They are people who just took up seats in a training opportunity, and denied it to those who would have made better use if them.

  7. Linda Wangmo says

    I think that our government should be aware of the call center business in Bhutan and I also think that the government should be aware that these call center aren’t surviving well. My question is why does call centers in India survive and why does it not survive in Bhutan? My answer is because our government does not pull up their socks. They should talk with American, European and Indian counterparts and get business for these call centers. If our call centers gets help from the government than there would be no need for our youths to work in India as employment will already be here.

  8. Tashi P. Ganzin says

    it’s ridiculous thing for the graduates to reject opportunities like this. why did they take up the training in the first place if they were not willing to work in the first place?

    there are graduates who say, “i don’t know i have to consult with my parents first”. this statement is a clear indication that the candidate is not able to make up his/her own mind. in interviews this statement is a major mistake. the interviewer tend to think the candidate is indecisive and dependent so one can miss the opportunity.
    well back to the discussion at hand, I’d say the government should have asked those people who were sent for training whether they would take up the job before they were sent down.

    after this incident no indian company would want to invest in bhutan’s human resources. that will surely have some bad impact.

    trust me if i had that opportunity i would have gone. do not take my decision as being ungrateful. I’d rather think of it as solving unemployment problems in Bhutan.


  1. […] engineers can’t find work. Unemployment must be a real problem if we expect our graduates to work abroad. And, unemployment must be a real problem if the very job fair that the labour minister addressed […]

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