Government schools evoke an image of a failed system. Their performance is always cited as a reason for privatization of the education. But the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) & the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) stand as an exception and have consistently outperformed their private counterparts. Is it really difficult to scale up and provide similar quality education to all children in the country?
The debate around public funded primary & secondary education often revolves around poor facilities, poor results and a system full of challenges. Privatization of education is often touted as the only alternative left to revive the secondary education setup. But the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) & Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) stand as the perfect examples of what public funded education can achieve, only if there is little more will. The KVs & JNVs have consistently outperformed private CBSE schools in both 10th & 12th results.
Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV)
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) was established in November, 1962 to provide uninterrupted education to the children of the transferable Central Government employees. They follow the CBSE curriculum. As on date, there are 1115 functional schools with 1175595 students. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of KVs (108) followed by Madhya Pradesh (93), Rajasthan (69), West Bengal (58) & Maharashtra (58).
There is no defined process for the establishment of a KV. It is dealt on a case to case basis. Various categories of students are given admission in KVs. Central government employees including teachers, Central Government Autonomous Body employees, State Government employees and state Government Autonomous body employees & others study in KVs.
Close to 50% of the students in KVs are children of Central Government employees, 15% are children state government employees and the rest 35% are others. MPs can also recommend names for admission to KVs.
Jawaharlal Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV)
On the other hand, Jawahar Navodya Vidyalayas(JNVs) were established with the primary objective to provide good quality modern education to the talented children predominantly from the rural areas, without regard to their family’s socio-economic condition. At present, there are 589 functional residential schools. Admission in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas is made on the basis of selection test which is designed to ensure that talented children from rural areas are able to compete without facing any disadvantage. The idea was to establish one JNV in every district. These schools also follow the CBSE Curriculum and are fully residential co-education schools. There are 589 functional schools at present with more than 2 lakh enrolled students.
Public Schools (Government schools) are infamous for their bad results. In a welcome departure from this tradition, KVs & JNVs have consistently outperformed private schools in both the 10th & 12th Class CBSE results. Though the performance of these schools is only marginally better in 10th results, they are far ahead of their private counter parts in 12th Results.
In class 10 results, KVs & JNVs have consistently achieved a result of more than 99.5% over the last few years. Private schools on the other hand achieved a result of less than 99.5%. The difference here is only marginal.
In class 12 results, KVs & JNVs have consistently achieved a result close to 95% over the last few years. Private schools on the other hand achieved a result marginally higher than 80%. The difference in performance is quite stark and the public schools have a 15% lead over the private schools. In both class 10 & 12 results, the KVs & JNVs have always done better than the CBSE national average.
As Factly reported earlier, about 35% faculty positions are vacant in Government Higher Educational Institutions. The percentage of teacher positions vacant in KVs & JNVs is not as high as the higher educational institutions. While 24.3% Principal positions are vacant in KVs, 15.7% are vacant in JNVs. The corresponding percentage for Teacher vacancies is 17.4% and 18.3% respectively.
Are KVs & JNVs an Exception?
Why is that institutions like KVs & JNUs are performing while the entire public funded primary & secondary education is in shambles? The answer probably is to do with both will & scale. The enrollment in Government schools in India is close to 14 crore. In other words, we would need 100 times the present number of KVs & JNVs to cater to that demand. While this is not an easy task, change is possible if both the state & central governments are willing.
But the actions of the central government like withdrawing central support to Model Schools do not exude that confidence. The Model school scheme envisaged setting up of 6000 quality schools across the country with minimum standards of a KV. This is more than 5 times the number of KVs in the country today. The central support to these schools has been withdrawn with effect from financial year 2015-16. The Central Government has transferred the scheme to the States/UTs. How many states will own the scheme as its own is a million dollar question.