Coming home with MEDALS
Three smiling faces stood in front me in my office humbly displaying their medals and certificates to me. There was not a bit of haughtiness in their disposition over what they had achieved. I was touched to the core of my heart. I could not have been happier to see the boys having proved their capability in science and having added value to their CV by carrying certificates from one of the most renowned institutions recognized internationally.
Before departing to Delhi they had come to my office for briefing and housekeeping. They had introduced to me as Sonam Tobgay from Jigmesherubling HSS in Khaling, Trashigang, Karma Gyeltshen from Tendru HSS in Samtse and Giri Huang Limboo from Chukha HSS in Chukha. They are none other than the three gold medalists who had just come back from New Delhi after attending the award ceremony at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. They stood out as the medalist amongst the 634 students across the country who sat for the IGNOU-UNESCO Science Olympiad 2011.
IGNOU-UNESCO Science Olympiad is a programme initiated by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), South Asia Office, New Delhi in 2010. The programme was aimed to search for and motivate the science talent in the South Asian countries.
Bhutan got the invitation to participate in 2010 coinciding with the Bhutan Year of Science and Technology which was celebrated on 10th November 2010 marking the World Science Day. I was coordinating the programme in Bhutan which gave me the opportunity to coordinate the IGNOU-UNESCO Science Olympiad too.
The science Olympiad is done in two levels of tier test. The tier-test 1 is to be conducted in the home country of all the SAARC countries. The question papers are distributed from the IGNOU in New Delhi and we have to conduct the test here in Bhutan.
In the first year we saw a maximum of 405 students who registered for the tier –test 1 out of which only about 390 students sat for the test. The answer papers had to be sent to IGNOU again for correction. We had three gold medalist and 37 merit certificate winners in 2010. The gold medalist then had to go to New Delhi and sit for the tier-test 2 where in the medalists from all the SAARC countries had to compete. The three medalists from Bhutan in 2010 were Karma Tenzin from Ugyen Academy, Sonam Drukpa from Jigmesherubling HSS and Ugen Wangchuk from Trashitse HSS.
From what I observed as a coordinator, there were maximum participations from the east in consecutive two years. Jigmesherubling HSS is backing the gold medal for the second time this year and the school is optimistic that they will bring more medals next year. Students from far flung places in Bhutan seem to be more aware and more interested to take part in such kind of programmes. All the three medalists come from humble family background and had no prior exposure to the outside world.