LEARN­ING CURVE

JAWA­HAR NAVODAYA VIDYALAYAS | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1986

India Today - - STATES - —Rahul Noronha

IT TAKES A VIL­LAGE

With good pri­vate schools largely con­cen­trated in ur­ban ar­eas, the Na­tional Pol­icy on Ed­u­ca­tion, 1986, en­vis­aged a sys­tem of res­i­den­tial schools in ru­ral ar­eas. The Jawa­har Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV) man­date was sim­ple: pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to those who lived in ru­ral ar­eas and oth­er­wise had no ac­cess to it. The schools were to be res­i­den­tial so that all as­pects of the child’s life could be catered to, which in many cases was not pos­si­ble at home for stu­dents from poor back­grounds.

In the past three decades, JNVs have emerged as flag­bear­ers of qual­ity in an oth­er­wise de­press­ing ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion land­scape. There are a to­tal of 598 JNVs in the coun­try to­day, 62 more are in the pipe­line (as per pol­icy, there has to be at least one JNV in each district in the coun­try). The schools ac­knowl­edge an im­por­tant as­pect of In­dia—that of di­ver­sity—and have a good pro­gramme for en­sur­ing in­te­gra­tion. This in­volves an in­ter-re­gional ex­change of stu­dents be­tween Hindi-speaking and nonHindi-speaking districts for one year in Class IX. An­other ob­jec­tive: get­ting stu­dents from the vil­lages to com­pete in the civil ser­vices exam. A sign of the JNVs’ suc­cess: Dhar col­lec­tor Sh­ri­man Shukla (IAS), in­come tax deputy com­mis­sioner Sunil Sharma (IRS) and Ajay Dwivedi (IAS) all are alumni of JNVs in Mad­hya Pradesh.

A NEW CHAP­TER

JNVs are con­sid­er­ing on­line lessons on fi­nan­cial literacy for stu­dents with the help of the Na­tional Stock Ex­change. The hope is that it will en­cour­age the idea of en­trepreneur­ship at a later date.

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