MoE, UNICEF & Partners launch Adolescent Skills and Employability Bhutan Project

Joint Press Release

20 May 2022
Adolescent boy and girl stand next to the ASE banner
UNICEF Bhutan/2022/SPelden

Thimphu May 20, 2022:  To equip adolescents and young people with life skills that would empower them to seize opportunities, confront challenges access meaningful employment, the Adolescent Skills and Employability (ASE) Bhutan Project was launched today in Thimphu.

Her Royal Highness Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the Vice President of Bhutan Youth Development Fund launched the project along with representatives from the UN, the Government agencies, private sector and CSOs.

Led by the Ministry of Education in partnership with Bhutan Youth Development Fund, Loden Foundation and UNICEF, the ASE project will equip at least 10,000 young people with 21st Century skills by December 2022.

The project will be rolled out through 64 schools and 10 youth centers across the country by focal persons using two programmatic approach– UPSHIFT1 and UNISOLVE2, initiatives of UNICEF’s Office of Innovation.

Officiating Education Secretary Karma Galay shared that the quality of education and skills is one of the National Key Result Areas in the 12th Five Year Plan and aligned to SDG 4. He added that this partnership to empower our children with the skills and competencies for the  21st Century would facilitate their access to gainful employment and lifelong learning. “The ASE project complements the on-going efforts of the Ministry to invest in our future,” the officiating secretary said.

At least 25 officials from agencies working with and for young people will be trained as a master trainer from this month to rollout the UPSHIFT programme in 64 schools and 10 youth centers next month.

Executive Director of Youth Development Fund, Dorji Ohm, said, “the ASE project is in the making of the power capsule for the young people of 21st Century.”

Executive Director of Loden Foundation Tshewang Tashi, said, “ASE is an investment in our children and is the legacy of this generation to the next generation.”

UNICEF and its Office of Innovation is supporting four countries in South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and the Maldives to scale up skilling program for eight million young people.

UNICEF Bhutan Representative Dr Will Parks said that adolescents, children aged 10–19, are growing up in a transforming, complex world.

“To keep up, adolescents must be able to seize opportunities and confront challenges. They need education and skills to become lifelong learners, to secure productive work, to make informed decisions and to positively engage in their communities,” Dr Will Parks said. “The Adolescent Skills and Employability Bhutan Project or ASE Bhutan is an initiative that builds on the development in an adolescent’s first decade of life, to help them navigate risks and vulnerabilities in their second decade of life, and to set them on the path to fulfilling their potential.”

Also known as transferable skills or life skills, 21st Century skills allow young people to become agile learners and global citizens equipped to navigate personal, social, academic and economic challenges. These skills also help young people affected by crisis cope with trauma and build resilience. They include problem-solving, negotiation, managing emotions, empathy and communication.

Leveraging the digital platforms and partnership, the ASE Project will inspire today’s young people to become tomorrow’s leaders.


Note to Editors

1 UPSHIFT is a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship programme that supports adolescents and young people to identify problems in their communities and design solutions to tackle those problems. It is designed to bridge the gap between education systems and work environment.

2 UNISOLVE is a digital platform that helps young people develop the critical skills they need. It allows students to join as a team and complete a self-paced interactive online curriculum. They put their newly acquired knowledge into practice by identify problems in their communities and develop solutions to address them—applying research, prototyping, and iterative design methods throughout the process. The course culminates with a “pitch”, where students present their solutions for a chance to receive seed funding.


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Communication Officer
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