What image comes to your mind when someone mentions a government school? I suppose a torn down building, badly equipped classrooms and a high student-teacher ratio, right? Now, imagine a government school where classrooms are equipped with a projector and a LCD screen, a well-equipped computer lab, labs for sciences, a language resource room and a good library. Such schools do exist, run by none other than the Government of India – 560 of them around the country, for that matter!
They are called Jawahar Novoaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). The Navodaya scheme aims to set-up a model residential school in each district in India, providing quality education with English as the medium of instruction to rural children. Today the scheme covers a total of 200,000 students through the 560 JNVs that are being currently operated.
The above facts are from a recent Business Today story, which highlighted JNV’s role in lifting hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children out of poverty. The story features successful JNV alumni, from extremely poor families, who have then gone on to achieve financial success. Here are some more interesting facts that highlight the role of JNVs as a poverty alleviation tool:
- 74% of the students come from families where the chief wage earner makes Rs. 48,000 or less
- 40% of student’s fathers have studied only up to middle school
- 77% of the students come from rural areas
- 96% is the percentage of JNV students who passed the Class 10 CBSE exam. They outperformed private school students by 5%
Shocking isn’t it? Well, if only they can grow. The combined annual intake of all JNVs together is about 37,0000. Clearly, that’s only a drop in the ocean. If only someone can come up with an innovative solution to rapidly scale the initiative, and we could go from 560 to 5600.
[Graphic Courtesy: Business Today]