Ugyen Tashi Wangchuk, 24, is currently undergoing Officer’s Training at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, India, which he says was his childhood dream. Without a Bachelors Degree, Ugyen would have never been able to pursue his dreams. Although, he did not qualify for one of the colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan, after completing his 12th Standard, as an active sportsman he had applied for the BOC-RUB (Bhutan Olympic Committee and Royal University of Bhutan) Scholarship.
After receiving the scholarship award along with 9 other athletes, Ugyen was able to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from Sherubtse College, Kanglung, Bhutan.
“I was glad to have been given this opportunity. If it wasn’t for sports, I would not be where I am today. I express my heartfelt gratefulness to the Bhutan Olympic Committee and the Royal University of Bhutan for giving me this invaluable opportunity” he said.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the BOC and RUB was initially signed, in April 2014, to allow fortalented young athletes from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to continue their academic pursuit and to cultivate and encourage sporting achievement and sportsmanship in the Colleges of the Royal University of Bhutan.
Initially the objective behind the scholarship scheme, was to retain the national athletes within Bhutan, so that theycould receive constant training and also ensure their availability to represent the nation for all major international games and competitions. However as stated by the Secretary General of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, it was also to, “act as an incentive and encourage other youth to take up sports, besides also persuading parents to allow their children to participate actively in sports, knowing that their children would have the opportunity to continue their academic pursuit. This would bring about a paradigm shift in the attitude of parents towards sports.”
Accordingly to the BOC, most youth athletes are introduced to the general aspects of a sport from as early as 8 years and then slowly begin to reﬁne their technical and strategic skills from the age of 14 to 18. From the age of 18 to 23, they undergo intensive practice and acquire skills in the technical, strategic, physical, mental and ancillary skills, and capacities needed to compete at the highest level. This is also the age when most of them finish high school and go on to pursue higher studies, in Bhutan, if they qualify or as in most cases, to India. Thus the investments made by the BOC and the NSFs in grooming the athletes will not go in vain, if they are given the opportunity to continue their studies in Bhutan, where they can also receive constant training. With the athletes undergoing their studies in Bhutan, it will also ensure their availability to represent the nation for all major international games and competitions, as and when required.
The MoU states that BOC will provide 10 scholarships, covering the tuition fee and stipend, at the existing government rates for the period of the study, in the constituent colleges or colleges affiliated to RUB. Out of the 10 scholarships, 5 slots will be made available to the Paro College of Education in the Diploma in Physical Education and Sports Coaching. This is to help mitigate the acute shortage of coaches and qualified sports personnel in the national sports federations and dzongkhag sports associations.The other 5 slots will be awarded to students in the other constituent Colleges or Colleges affiliated to the RUB.
The MoU between the BOC and the RUB was renewed on the 14th of March, 2018, for a period of 5 years.