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India’s Top Government Boarding Schools 2021-22

EducationWorld November 2021 | Cover Story Magazine

The Central government promoted Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas — free-of-charge boarding schools for meritorious rural children — continue to dominate the EW league table of government boarding schools, writes Paromita Sengupta

Conceptualised in 1984 by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi (1944-91) as free-of-charge boarding schools for meritorious rural children, the Central government-promoted and managed Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) — currently 661 countrywide — continue to dominate the EWISR league table of India’s sufficiently well-known government boarding schools. It’s noteworthy that the learning outcomes of these generously funded (Union Budget provision in 2021-22: Rs.3,800 crore) JNVs are on a par with India’s top-ranked day and boarding private schools.

JNV, Bagalur’s Sundaravel

JNV, Bagalur’s Sundaravel: recognition motivation

This year, 1,027 SEC (socio-economic category) ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ sample respondents have voted a relatively new entrant Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Bagalur, Bangalore Urban (estb.1992) India’s #1 (ranked #3 in 2020-21) government boarding school pushing JNV, Chennithala, Alappuzha to #2 (1) followed by the Haryana state government-promoted Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Sonipat, which was moved last year from the category of co-ed boarding to government boarding schools, at #3 (2). Oak Grove School, Dehradun at #4 (4) and JNV, Gachibowli, Ranga Reddy district #5 (6) complete this year’s Top 5 table.

Further down the 16-strong table of government boarding schools are 10 JNVs (Chennithala #2, Gachibowli #5, Hamirpur #7, Ernakulam #8, Kannur #9, Pimple, Pune #10, Chittoor #11, Karimnagar #12, Pathanamthitta #13, Samastipur #15). A non-JNV entrant in the Top 10 is Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya, Patharchepa, Balangir, promoted under the aegis of the Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan, a publicly funded initiative inaugurated in 2015 by Naveen Patnaik-led the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government of Odisha.

Kannan Sundaravel, a science and education alum of Madurai Kamaraj, Annamalai and Bharathidasan universities and incumbent principal of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Bagalur, Bangalore Urban (JNV-B), is elated that JNV-B is voted India’s #1 government boarding school in 2021-22. “Government schools including JNVs, get very little media coverage. Therefore, this recognition will motivate our teachers to work harder for JNV-B to retain its #1 EWISR ranking next year. I thank your sample respondents for acknowledging the dedicated service of my teachers and staff and the hard work, sincerity of my students. I am not surprised by our top rating in academic reputation. Every year, our students routinely qualify for the IITs, NITs and other reputed engineering and medical college

“After Covid struck India last March, we ensured all our children were sent home with escorts and quickly switched to online learning platforms such as Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Moreover, thanks to the generosity of our alumni, no child suffered lack of digital devices and Internet connectivity. We have recently welcomed our senior classes back on campus and will ensure all safety guidelines are followed to welcome the rest,” says Sundaravel, who acquired three decades of teaching and admin experience in several JNVs (Manipur, Kerala, Assam, Goa, Karnataka) countrywide prior to taking charge as principal of JNV-B in 2019. Currently, this class VI-XII fully residential school has 749 students and 48 teachers on its muster rolls.

Likewise R. Daniel Retnakumar, principal of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Gachibowli, Ranga Reddy district (Telangana), is delighted, with the school’s promotion to the Top 5. “We are more than pleased to regain our Top 5 rank of 2018-19 in these challenging pandemic times. Now after the state government granted permission for schools to reopen on October 21, our students are back on campus. We plan to make up for lost learning through an intensive remedial programme and raise competitive tests preparedness of all our students,” vows Retnakumar, a physics and education postgraduate of Madurai Kamaraj and Madras universities with nearly three decades of teaching and admin experience in several JNVs countrywide. Currently, JNV-G has 606 students mentored by 23 teachers.

In this year’s league table, a clutch of state government boarding schools have all lost rank. Among them: Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Sonipat #3 (2), Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya, Jamui, Bihar #6 (5) and Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali, Ranchi #14 (10).

Also read: India’s best co-ed day schools

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