Are our children facing stresses related to academic routine? Some might say that they are not. But findings from a mobile app called mPowerYouth, designed for department of youth and sports (DYS) to make counselling available to those who seek professional intervention, is that our children are facing academic stress.
Through the app, we also know that our children face other issues like substance abuse, relationship, and mental health.
These are significant findings that call for urgent actions.
An app such as mPowerYouth is important to gauge the pulse of the nation. Because it is designed for the young population who are the future of the nation, it is all the more important. It tells us where we need to make amends.
School system in Bhutan have challenges myriad. As the education minister keeps repeating in significant education meetings, ours is a system that had outlived its utility. Our school system today is battling with issue like abuse and threat that are unfortunate.
But the problem is how sadly unaware our people, especially the young, are about the usefulness of the app. There are today only about 122 people who availed of the services of the app. It is the gap that is unnecessarily present that is affecting the vulnerable group in our society.
If a teacher can threaten to fail a student, if he or she is not bold enough to deny or fight inappropriate overtures, our education system really has outlived its utility.
We have today an issue of inadequate counsellors. That is why we do not have counsellors in primary school. But primary schools are where teachers seem to misuse their role. Recent cases from Thimphu, Gelephu, and Paro, as disturbing as they are, are seen as lapses that are pardonable. Many such cases go unreported.
But who is taking the blame? Teachers are not. Parents are not. Policymakers sure are not. We are leaving our children to fend for themselves in a world that is becoming increasingly unsafe for them.
When counsellors are unwilling to come on record, we think there is something may be wrong in the system. We need to change this.
We have something called mPowerYouth that youth can use to seek help. Make use of it.