The World Bank in a report says despite heavy investment in education sector, the educated youth of Bhutan have remain unemployed.
As per the World Bank’s working paper, Bhutan Development Report, the government spending on education increased from 5.1 per cent of GDP in 2013 to 6.7 per cent in 2016.
According to the World Bank report, Bhutan’s spending on education is higher than neighbouring countries, showing significant commitment to investment in human capital.
However, the unemployment rate for educated youth (with bachelor’s degree) stood at 67 per cent in 2016, although the overall youth unemployment rate was 13.2 per cent, reports Kuensel.
It has also been reported that Bhutan’s public sector provides about 20 pc of the total jobs packaged with better monetary and non-monetary benefits than the private sector.
The WB report says: “While hydropower will remain dominant in the foreseeable future, Bhutan’s demographic transition requires more concerted efforts to develop the private sector.”
The World Bank also stated that hydropower generation is likely to triple from 1,606 MW in 2017 to 5,300 MW in 2023.
The share of working-age population has been projected to rise from 65 pc in 2010 to 71 pc in 2025.
Besides, about 8,000 people will enter the labour market every year and most of them will be better educated than the previous generation, it said.
The report also says: “Therefore, it will be important to create good quality jobs for the working-age population to ensure sustainable and inclusive development in the future.”
It has been claimed that the hydropower sector employs only 0.8 pc of the labour force and there is extensive use of foreign labour in construction of hydropower projects.
The structure of employment remains overwhelmingly agrarian accounting for 70 percent of the jobs in the private sector, the report further says.
This reflected lack of job opportunities for the youth, says the World Bank.
There is room for improvement in both education and health sectors while going by the parameters of the Human Capital Index of World Bank. However, due to data constraints, Bhutan’s ranking is not assessed, says the report.
The report says that Bhutan has achieved noteworthy improvements in health in the last two decades, but critical challenges still remain.
Stating that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasing and account for more than 70 pc of the reported disease burden, the report states: “This poses a significant risk to people’s health in their productive years. Mental health problems including alcoholism and suicides are on the rise, owing to sociocultural changes, growing urbanisation, migration and unemployment.”
The World Bank also states that public spending on health during FY2013-16 remained at about 2.7 pc of the GDP and was largely focused on building adequate infrastructure for proper delivery of the health care services.
Bhutan’s expected years of schooling, those who have completed 9.4 years of schooling by the age of 18 years, is lower than what would be expected for its income level, the report says.
This has been reflected in Bhutan’s low gross tertiary enrolment rate compared to neighbouring countries. It has been reported that as of 2016, 63 per cent of Bhutan’s labour force lacked formal education and only 5 pc of them completed some form of tertiary education.