Best schools in the country are Government-run

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]


6 Responses

  1. Grossly mistaken post.

    It is something like this: you tie someone’s hands and legs with a rope, and later ask him to fight with you. Declare that you are winner when you obviously win.

    Coming to this post, Government does not allow private schools to run as they wish.

    1. No one can start a school without going through beaurocratic permissions. This makes the whole project unviable.
    2. Private schools are restricted in terms of choosing number of teachers, their pay, etc
    3. Schools can’t be for profit.

    Many more such issues.

    So it is obvious that the good private schools are very much expensive and low-income intelligent student will always prefer a cheap government school. If the student is already skilled when he joins it, there is no wonder that the results of a government school is better.


  2. Raja,

    Interesting that you bring up the private schools arguments in this context – the schools highlighted in the article (JNVs) are completely free (something important I failed to mention). Most students come from families so poor, that they cannot afford anything more that what is given in the schools (which is pretty much everything, given the schools are residential).

    Now, private schools, with sometimes exorbitant fees have a little role to play here. These children would have very little choice if it wasnt for the JNVs.

    With regard to private schools being overly restrained by the Government – it is a valid point. But, I think the jury is still out on deciding if private schools alone is the answer for India’s education challenge

  3. Let me put it this way.

    No person is born in this world as a intelligent.

    So it is all about the learning atmosphere, meaning, infrastructure and environment. If a school has it then it would be good. JNVs must be having good infrastructure compared to the other schools that you mentioned. We don’t need to think for the reasons. This happens just because child is open to learn everything that he comes across in his small world.

    However, this may not be the case with the adults when they go for higher education. Even if you provide good environment and infrastructure, adult may not be open to those.

  4. Anyway, India do not have enough teachers for its 300 million children. What does this means is that we can’t have 1 teacher-10 children or 1-30 kind of teaching.

    We can only have 1-1000 or 1-10,000. This can happen only through using technology. In this regard, I feel IPTV or MobileTV are the two promising ones. Future lies with these technologies. This means, for a child, it may not matter which kind of school he enrolled rather how much he learnt using the technology.

    Like now, very very few lucky people like us will get (really) educated through regular schools 🙂


  5. Raja,

    Its sad that you are under-estimating the Navodian Students, however its my humble duty to bring out the truth,

    and the fact is that Navodians are and will be a gifted children, those who are prove that they are above the average when they are at the age of 9+, Although other then Navodian students can catch up and may be outwit them, but I am mentally harassed by your quote that “for a child, it may not matter which kind of school he enrolled rather how much he learnt using the technology.”

    I am not a fact publisher here, however you can quickly google up and find no. of Navodians securing positions in IIT and other top tech. places, mind you some of these students had to deal with most rough lifestyle that you could only see in NGC in some of the African countries (Including me), and still they not only secure the top place wherever they go but they make the nation proud

    If I am born again in India, I wish I should have enough brain and I could study at Navodaya,


  6. Navodaya are really best school for Rural and Poor student who can’t afford to pay heavy fee at public school.They are best example of providing Quality education with minimum cost .Most of student who make to IITs,IIMs with rural background are Navodians(This is a fact-) .
    I am also from a Rural background and i have made to IIT only due to Navodaya which provie a step towards fulfilling my dream . I have seen that very few Rural indian make it to IITs and most of them are Navodians

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