The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has advised the HRD Ministry to include elements of military schools (Sainik Schools) — aimed at promoting discipline, physical fitness and a patriotic outlook — in regular schools too. Senior HRD officials on Tuesday attended a meeting called by the PMO to discuss this proposal.
The Prakash Javadekar-led ministry is learnt to be exploring ways to introduce Sainik School-like features in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). It has also discussed the PMO’s suggestion with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), to which about 20,000 private schools across the country are affiliated.
According to sources, the ministry is of the view that it would be easier to replicate such elements in JNVs, which are also residential schools. These schools, run by the Centre, provide quality education to talented students from rural areas, selected through an entrance test.
Sainik Schools were conceived in 1961 by the then Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon, and set up with the objective of preparing youngsters for the defence services. So, in addition to academics, students at these residential schools have to join the National Cadet Corps (NCC), undergo rigorous physical training, lead disciplined lives and are encouraged to adopt patriotic values. Currently, there are about 25 such schools, managed by a society under the Ministry of Defence.
The PMO has proposed inclusion of such elements in all schools for “holistic development” of students. This idea was first mooted under the NDA-II government at the 64th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) held in October last year. CABE is the highest advisory body that guides the central government and states on matters pertaining to education.
As first reported by The Indian Express on October 26, at the CABE meeting, Minister of State for HRD Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey emphasised the importance of military education for students to promote the idea of patriotism and nationalism. He also claimed that if 2,000 of the 10,000 students at Nalanda University were trained in military education, they would have foiled Bakhtiyar Khilji’s plan to plunder and raze the institute.
According to the minutes of the CABE meeting, Madhya Pradesh’s education minister also suggested that more Sainik Schools should be set up by the government as “nationalism and patriotism is the need of the hour”.