Political affiliation of applicant institution does not influence selection process on new Sainik Schools: Defence Ministry

Political affiliation of applicant institution does not influence selection process on new Sainik Schools: Defence Ministry

The scheme for new Sainik Schools is “well thought out” and the “political or ideological affiliation or otherwise” of the applicant institution does not influence the selection process, the Defence Ministry said on April 3 responding to some reports stating that attempts to “politicize or distort” the objectives and implementation of the scheme by “casting aspersions on it are unwarranted and misleading”.

“The selection process itself is rigorous, checks and balances have been built in to ensure continuing adherence to the objectives and strong incentives are in place to provide financial support to deserving students,” a Ministry statement issued late in the evening said.

Sainik Schools were established in the 1960s under the Sainik Schools Society (SSS), which is under the Ministry and there are 33 existing schools with an admission capacity of approximately 3,000 students in Class 6. Given the demand for Sainik Schools, the Union Cabinet had in October 2021 approved the proposal for launching 100 Sainik Schools under public private partnership to be affiliated with SSS.

Detailing the selection process, the Ministry said the evaluation process includes a School Evaluation Committee comprising the concerned District Magistrate as chairperson and Principals of nearby existing Sainik Schools or Navodaya Vidyalaya.

Physical inspection of the applicant school and verification of the credentials is done as per laid down criteria, it stated and an approval committee that consists of the Joint Secretary, SSS as chairperson, Secretary of CBSE and an eminent educationist as members accord the final recommendations.

“Over 500 applications have been received and scrutinised. As on date, approval has been accorded to 45 schools. This includes both existing schools and schools proposed to be built,” the statement said. Approval to these schools is given provisionally and its continuation is based on annual inspection by the School Inspection Committee. “Hence, the scheme provides for a continued adherence to achieving the identified standards,” the Ministry asserted.

The financial assistance provided by the Central government includes annual fee support to deserving students of 50% of fee — subject to an upper limit of ₹40,000 per annum — on merit-cum-means basis that is directly transferred to the bank accounts of eligible students, the Ministry said. “Incentive of ₹10 lakh to the schools as training grant annually, based on the annual academic performance of the students in Class 12. Hence, the direct incentive to any school is restricted to ₹10 lakh per annum,” it added.

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