Creation for Gaming on Youth Employment in Bhutan
Hideko Hadzialic Deputy Resident Representative

23 Jul 2014

Good morning! I am very excited to be here this morning. It is very encouraging to see that young people, private sector representatives, parents and teachers have gathered here for this interesting workshop on Gaming on Youth Employment.

I would also like to welcome the officials from the ministry of Labour and Human Resources to this workshop. Also, our appreciation goes to the Institute of Management Studies for organizing this workshop.

As you are all aware, youth unemployment is an increasingly growing concern for the Government and the general public. Although the overall unemployment rate is 2.9 per cent (2013), the rate of unemployment among the youth (ages 15-24 years) is considerably higher.

Among male youth, unemployment stands at 9.2 percent, and among female youth, it is 9.9 percent. The Bhutan Living Standard Survey in 2012 indicated that youth unemployment was already  beyond 10 per cent.  These rates are also much more pronounced among youth in urban areas compared to rural areas, rising sharply to 20.2 percent and 29.5 percent for male and female youth respectively.

Creating gainful employment for youth, with a focus on quality of employment, has become a key priority for the Government, as reflected in the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2013-2018).

In full support of the Government’s ambitious youth employment target, UNDP is trying to be more innovative. We recognize that the old ways of doing business are no longer sufficient to address various development challenges. We also need to explore the opportunities of today, particularly the fast changing world of information and communication technology (ICT), in which mobile phones and the internet are increasingly influencing people’s lives.

UNDP is trying to explore and develop the next generation of services, and has started to implement a variety of projects around the world focusing on ICT and social innovation. By developing well-intended games, the youth can actively get involved in generating ideas and will effectively become co-developers of the solutions for their own challenges.

Playing games for employment: Off-line and on-line games will be developed through this project. The games will help them understand and appreciate different types of jobs, which are not currently attractive to Bhutanese.

For instance, games will allow young players to takes on various roles – among other roles, they can play the role of public authorities, employers, job seekers, businessman or community leaders. When you play the game, you will have to provide and advocate for a solution to the local problem written on the game cards and earn points. The game will have four-five rounds, so the players change roles too, helping participants to empathize, better learn and understand the constraints of others – increasing their appreciation towards various categories of jobs, such as the science behind construction work, and the arts behind various service industries. 

The gamification, at the end, should lead to the achievement of the following objectives:
  • To collect ideas for formulating responsive youth employment strategies;
  • To support start-up of viable entrepreneurial ideas and innovation (both financially and technically) for job creation and employment-based economic development;
  • To change attitudes and the mindset of youth towards vocational education and non-desk jobs, and 
  • To help benefit personal development and skills of youth (such as self-confidence, motivation, career aspiration, sense of responsibility, communication skills and ICT).
To achieve the above objectives, it is important to have good game contents with appropriate mission and game titles. That’s why we are gathered here today to develop the contents of the game, debate about the game title and mission title.

I encourage every one of you to actively participate in the workshop. The IMS will also conduct a number of meetings in other regions, involving stakeholders for in-depth discussions with regard to the game contents.

Once the content of the game is finalized, the online game will be launched sometime in October 2014. The launch of the game will be widely announced using the media, including social media (Facebook and Twitter), TV, radio, newspapers, SMS, as well as through UNDP and Ministry of Labour and Human Resources websites. UNDP and IMS will explore partnerships with influential Bhutanese Facebook groups such as the Prime Minister’s own personal blog to promote and advocate for the game during the launch phase.

In conclusion, I take this opportunity to wish all those gathered today a very fruitful discussion about the contents of the game.

Thank you and Tashi Delek!