Navodaya schools across the country are being evaluated on whether they are fulfilling their objective of excellence, equity and social justice

After over two decades since the inception of Navodaya Vidyalayas in the country, the Planning Commission has decided to evaluate their performance. This is being done through its Programme Evaluation Organisation (PEO), which has begun the exercise of evaluating 55 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) across over 20 states.

The JNVs were established during Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure. In the National Policy on Education, 1986, they were envisaged as pace setting residential schools with an aim to provide excellence coupled with equity and social justice.

These Centrally-funded residential schools are meant for Class VI to XII to provide good quality modern education to talented children predominantly from rural areas, without regard to their socio-economic condition. The admission to these special schools is through entrance test.

The evaluation study would look into various aspects relating to implementation, performance and impact of the scheme. The data for the study will be generated primarily through sample survey in the selected States. This would be supplemented by the qualitative information on implementation and delivery of the intended benefits of the scheme, according to a letter issued by the Planning Commission secretary Sindhushree Khullar.

The structured scheduled would be canvassed at various levels of sample units like state, district, school beneficiary and non beneficiary students, and parents of students.

The States selected for the survey are Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. Six districts each of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will be covered under the survey, while only one district each in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.

Affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), admissions in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas have provision for 75 per cent seats for rural children. Seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities in proportion to their population in the district and one-third of the seats are for girls and three per cent for disabled children.

One of the objectives of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, an autonomous organisation with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is to provide good quality modern education including a strong component of culture and inculcation of right values. The objectives to promote national integration and enrich social content are fulfilled through its Art in Education Programme which facilitates an understanding and appreciation of the common and composite heritage of our people among students.