'Make parental income a criterion in Navodaya schools'

Niti Aayog unit also recommends steps against malpractice

'Make parental income a criterion in Navodaya schools'

A government body has recommended fixing family income as one of the criterion for admissions to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) after it found that only 15 per cent of parents living below the poverty line could get their wards enrolled in these schools due to absence of such a provision.

The Niti Aayog's programme evaluation board has also taken note of some complaints of malpractices in the JNV admission procedure, recommending that the system for selection be reviewed to ensure transparency.

“From the information available with the school authority and the information collected from selected parents, we may conclude that parents of the children studying in JNVs certainly do not represent the rural poor population,” said the programme evaluation board in its report to the government.

Lacking transparency
The JNVs, which conduct an annual nationwide admission test, have to fill at least 75 per cent of their seats with rural children.

Only those children living in the district where a JNV is functioning can apply for
admission.

“An income criterion for admission is desirable as a chunk of parents with wards in JNVs fall in middle-income or service categories,” it recommended.

The report underlined that transparency in the admission procedure was a “major cause of concern” for parents, students and even some teachers.

“It is reported that malpractices were prevalent at some examination centres. About 21 per cent principals and 11 per cent teachers are not satisfied with the present admission procedure. Of these, almost half the principals and teachers each have told there exist different types of malpractices in the admission procedures,” it noted.

“The students feel there is favouritism, copying in the examination, forging of documents, collecting money for admission form, etc. In Bihar, 15 students who could not get admission in JNVs said students from other districts and urban areas apply by forging documents. A total of 30 rejected candidates said they applied more than once,” noted the report.

The maximum numbers of complaints have been received from Odisha (36 per cent), Bihar (29 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (24 per cent), it added.

Quality education needed
JNVs have been established in 598 of the country's 664 districts. On an average, 4,000 students — 50 times the available seats — apply in each JNV.

“Fifty-nine per cent of the principals of selected JNVs feel the norm of one JNV in each district to cater to quality education of rural population is not sufficient,” said the report.

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