While military discipline and strict rules are to be introduced in all schools the implications it will have on education as an important social institution will remain to be seen. Please share your ideas, opinions and comments on this important recent step by the MHRD.
Editorial Team/The New Leam
Schools across the country need to follow an army based notion of discipline and patriotism and this has been further asserted through the on goings in the capital city of the country recently. Yes this refers to the fact that the prime minister’s office (PMO) has advised the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to introduce some distinct elements of military school training in regular schools as well – including discipline, rigorous physical training and ‘patriotic sentiments’. This, according to the PMO, will ensure the “holistic development” of students. According to a report in The Indian Express, senior MHRD officials were called to the PMO for a meeting to discuss this on Tuesday (July 18).
Sainik Schools first originated in India in the 1960s under then defence minister V.K. Krishna Menon, to try and change the class and regional biases within the army. Students who are studying in these residential schools (there are 25 such schools across the country) are prepared for military life – by being mandated to join the National Cadet Corps, for example – along with being trained in academic disciplines. To get admitted into such a school, a student needs clear and score well in a national level entrance test.
This model, the MHRD reportedly said, will be incorporated in Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, especially Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas since they are also residential schools. The PMO has strongly suggested that the Sainik School model be replicated in all the Central Board of Secondary Examination-affiliated schools – which means that now about 20,000 private schools across the country will have to follow this mandate.This suggestion first came up by the NDA in a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (the highest government advisory body on education) in October 2016. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union minister of state for HRD, was quoted by Amar Ujala as saying at that meeting that military school training will help students be more “patriotic” and “nationalist”. He added that if of the 10,000 students who went to Nalanda University even 2,000 had military training, “foiled Bakhtiyar Khilji’s plan to plunder and raze the institute,” Indian Express reported.
In recent times as the country faces the assertion of nationalist politics and the growing emphasis on public appraisal of patriotic symbols it is not surprising that the domain of education is also severely impacted. While military training and forceful emphasis on patriotic symbols will soon become compulsory parts of curriculum the point worth questioning is whether this alone can make one respect their nation or whether on the contrary it can lead to an averse reaction among many reflexive-creative students. We must also ask whether the concepts of patriotic love and national pride need to be rethought in times like these where communal tension, poverty and discrimination challenge the nation’s integrity? As pedagogues, teachers and members of the community education is a domain that shall impact the lives of one and all and moreover it is education that will play the most significant role as far as determining the future of then nation is concerned. It is a moment to think, reflect and share what we feel about this recent assertion.
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