The Tale of a Topper – Sakteng’s whiz kid

Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu

If there is a will there is a way and hard work pays.

These are some of the lessons that Tashi Norbu, 19, from Sakteng gewog in Trashigang district realized after he topped the Bhutan higher school examination certificate (BHSEC) in Arts this year with 86.25 percent. But this did not come immediately. For few days, Tashi had to reconcile with the fact that he was just fourth. A student of Jigme Sherubling Central School, Khaling, Tashi says that all along he was “sad” because he could not live to the challenge he had made “internally.”

Raised by his elder sister after his parents passed away at a tender age, Tashi Norbu is one of the beneficiaries of His Majesty’s scholarship kidu, called as Gyalpoi Tozey.

“I am a Gyalpoi Tozey. I enjoyed this privilege since primary school and it has been my dream, my ambition to top the examinations and offer it as a gift to His Majesty the King,” Tashi said.

When the results were declared his position was fourth. He found that the marks of Dzongkha paper II, were low. It was only 63. “I did better in Dzongkha than any other subjects,” he said, adding that seeing his Dzongkha marks disappointed him.

Though Tashi reconciled with the results, his friends did not as they knew that Tashi’s grasp of Dzongkha was very good and that he would definitely have scored more than 63. As they could not convince Tashi to go for a reevaluation, his friends did on their own and approached the Bhutan higher school examination certificate (BHSEC). His friends were right. The re-check found that he had actually scored 89.5 in the paper, making him the country’s topper in Arts.

Known as a well mannered boy, humble and descent, one of his school mates Delma Lhamu, says Tashi always speaks about how he could serve the country and His Majesty especially. “One day he told me that he cannot imagine the life he would be leading, if he had not become a Tozey. He says that he would have been at home, raising cattle. He said he is ready to do anything for the country and His Majesty the King.”

Tashi further mentioned that apart from His Majesty the King, his sister sacrificed almost everything she had for his studies. “Even my friends and teachers also helped me a lot and I am not discounting their contributions,” he said.

Despite obtaining scholarships to study abroad, Tashi has decided to study at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, which will be moved to Pangbisa, Paro. He underlined that the choice was made considering the importance of law in nation building. “I am good in both English and Dzongkha. This makes the law school the perfect institution for me to study,” he said.

Earlier, he had an intense drive to be a researcher. However, after realizing that lawyers who can champion the cause of institutions like the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) are required, he decided to become a legal personnel. During leisure time, Tashi spends time reading books, especially those on the nation’s history and culture.

Reiterating his “honour” for being a Gyalpoi Tozey, Tashi said that of all, being a Tozey “inculcates how different Bhutanese Kings are.” “We not only feel lucky but inspired to serve the country,” he said. The Gyalpoi Tozey education programme was launched in 2007, after His Majesty found out that there were many people who could not send their children to school due to economic reasons. Currently, there are 2,657 Gyalpoi Tozey’s around the country, studying from pre primary to class XII. From this, 136 are studying at the undergraduate level. Apart from this, His Majesty’s Kidu Foundation also offer scholarships to deserving students seeking to pursue higher education, especially the poor and underprivileged.

Meanwhile, Tenzin Dorji, Secretary, Bhutan council for school examination and assessment (BCSEA), said that after the provisional marks are declared, the students are given around 2-3 weeks to re-check their paper if they are not satisfied.

He said there were 278 students who applied for the re-check in various subjects this year. Nu. 300 is charged per subject. However, the mistake was found in Tashi Norbu only.


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