Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 31
Tweaking the admission policy for admission to Sainik Schools, which serve as feeder institutes for the National Defence Academy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reserved seats for girls in these institutes along with implementing reservation for other backward classes.
“One seat per category for girls is to be ensured. Ten per cent of the strength of class-VI or 10 seats, whichever is higher, will be reserved for girls in any school,” a circular issued by MoD to principals of all Sainik School this month states.
In October last year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had approved a proposal for admission of girls to Sainik Schools in a phased manner from the 2021-22 academic session following a successful pilot project at Sainik School, Chhingchhip, in Mizoram two years ago.
From the forthcoming session, for which the admission process has been initiated, all Sainik Schools are also required to reserved seats for other backward classes (non-creamy layer).
According to the circular, the reservation would be 15 per cent for scheduled castes, 7 per cent for scheduled tribes and 27 per cent for other backward classes. Out of the balance seats, the defence category quota accounts for 25 per cent while the remaining seats would be for the general category.
Opening up Sainik Schools for girls and introducing reservation for other backward classes are two major policy changes concerning admission to Sainik Schools within a span of about a year.
The new reservation policy has also kicked up a debate on the social media. While some have termed additional caste-based reservation as a regressive step as it could have implications for the institution of the armed forces where no such provisions exist, some have said it is in line with the national policy governing education institutes.
There are 33 Sainik Schools across the country that are managed by the Sainik School Society, an autonomous body under the aegis of the defence ministry. Funding for the schools are shared by the central and state governments. Some more schools are also in the pipeline in various states.
As per the society’s mandate, 67 per cent of the seats in each Sainik School are earmarked for candidates from the state where the institute is located. The rest are for candidates from other states.
According to the new circular, two lists in the order of merit are drawn up at the time of admission – one of candidates of the home state and the other of candidates from other states. Candidates in each list will be allotted seats in accordance with the aforementioned percentage of reservation.
Sainik schools intake students at the level of class-VI after a competitive extranace examination and prepare them for entry into the armed forces through the National Defence Academy after completing class-XII. While alumni of these schools have reached the apex level in the armed forces, many have been equally successful in the civilian sector.