I will be honest. I never liked Ugyen Academy aka UA(www.ugyenacademy.edu.bt). UA is our closest neighbor, strongest opponent and the only competition in the district. My dislike for UA was born because they beat us in football and basketball every year, except last year, which was more of luck than real skill. Every year UA lifts the winning trophies for most of the ball games, their victory cry pained my ears. What was frustrating was also because most of our good players who pass out or fail play against us in their team the next year.
What I did not contemplate was, UA’s dominance has made us work harder, both academically and in sports. Being the only high school in the district before was like becoming lazy; our standards had come down. But now our footballers play and lose against UA every year. Though we lose all the time, there is less pressure, as we risk nothing compared to them but work harder.
Most of the football, basketball, and volleyball players in UA come to the school on scholarships. They also come from humble backgrounds. These boys and girls are brought to UA and are given free education. To study at UA, is not for the financially challenged. A boarding student has to pay ranging from 65 to 80 thousand for one year, depending on the stream of their choice. UA is, at the beginning of every year overwhelmed with new admissions and some say it is the best private school in the country.
Bhutan, is a developing country and like other developed countries, games and sports have not become professional careers but what UA is doing is a start. In a government school one would neglect games and sports because it will not land you in to a job but this is slowly changing, and it’s a good change. I never realized that UA is giving these students a second chance to life. These students are mostly under performers in academics but the facilities at UA focuses on their strengths and help the students boost their confidence. Their strength being sports. UA also extends its scholarship to the underprivileged and the needy students, we call these students kidu students.
My students competing with the UA students, is like watching my child get beaten by another child who is faster, stronger and bigger, so it is normal that I feel the emotions that I feel. But UA wins every game, playing them by the rules of the game and now realizing this I have no hard feelings against UA, rather I am glad that we have UA.