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Gyalsung, Bhutan.

Updated: Dec 2, 2022


His Majesty King Jigme Kheser Namgyel Wangchuck. Source: http://www.gyalsunginfra.bt/


What is Gyalsung?


Gyalsung is a one-year integrated National Service program/ training for young citizens of Bhutan which is expected to commence in the year 2024. All youth who attain the age of 18 are required to take part in the training. If they’re still in school they must join the service after completing the 12th grade.


The National service was introduced by His Majesty the King on December 17, 2019, during his speech to the country on Bhutan's 112nd National Day.



What does the Gyalsung program include?


The program will consist of three months of fundamental military training and nine months of specialized instruction in subjects such as the construction of home technology, computing, and providing entrepreneurship opportunities for the concentrated improvement of agricultural abilities.


What is the purpose of the Gyalsung project?


The program is aimed to serve as a rite of passage for the youth of Bhutan and bring people from different socio-economic backgrounds together in a common experience. Furthermore, it also endeavours to provide every young person in Bhutan with the character traits, discipline, and professional competencies required to thrive in the twenty-first century and consequently support the development of the country.



How many people will join the program?


According to the project’s website every year, up to 13,000 young people are expected to experience this rite of passage. Five National Service Academies spread around the nation will train the National Service cadets all at the same time. A three-person National Service Core Working Group was given the comprehensive operating blueprint, which includes training programs.


A separate establishment called the “GYALSUNG INFRA” was also founded for the purpose of planning and performing design work and creating infrastructure for the five academies.




The five NS centres that Gyalsung Infra is presently working on are located in Samtse, Sarpang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Wangdueprodrang, and Mongar. Around 2,600 trainees, 300 NCOs, and 32 officers are expected to be accommodated in each centre.


Recent updates regarding the program:


According to the bill passed in the National Council of Bhutan on the 7th of November, 2022, the service program is divided into three phases.


First, the National Service Cadets must complete a one-year integrated training program that includes three months of Basic Military Training before receiving specialized skills training in a variety of fields.


The second phase is known as National Service Duty (NS Duty). Up until the age of 35, these trained individuals called the “Gyalups” are subject to both mandatory and voluntary service calls.


After completing their National Service (NS) duty, NS members shall continue serving in the reserve until they turn 45, at which point their National Service responsibilities are complete.


The Bill also states that, if an eligible youth does not enrol in Gyalsung Training upon notice subjected to a fine of up to 90 days' worth of the national minimum wage. Furthermore, anyone who evades the Gyalsung Training will be guilty of an offence and will be subjected to punishment for a felony of the fourth degree upon conviction.



What do the people of Bhutan think?


Many people have been sharing their opinions about the National Service program on online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


Some people believe that the rules are too strict for young children as it hampers their college-going years. There are also people who expressed their concerns over including criminals who completed serving their prison term or young offenders such as drug abusers and gang members in the service program along with other common youth of Bhutan.


On the other hand, there were people who simply expressed gratitude towards this historic movement which is believed to help the young Bhutanese. Netizens believe that the program will not only provide skills to the youth but it will also help those young graduates who are unable to pursue further education to stay engaged.




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