By Pramod Kumar
Good education and good results are no more a preserve of up-market public schools where admitting students has become a status symbol. The government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) have proved it true by securing the highest 90.6 and 92.74 pass percentages in CBSE Board exams of Class X and XII respectively. These schools have beaten all the reputed and expensive public schools, which have undoubtedly better teaching facilities and infrastructure. This achievement also has signifi-cance because of the fact that most of the students from KVs? come from the middle class or service class, unlike the rather well heeled students of pubic schools.
?The results have brought a sea change in people'smentality. Unlike other years, the number of hopefuls seeking admission in KVs has increased manifold this year. We are under pressure to admit hundreds of students, but we cannot accommodate more than five students, as all the seats are already full,? said Sudhir Modaval, Assistant Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan, Delhi region.
The credit for this remarkable improvement in results certainly goes to the KV staff as well as to the hard work of the students, but the role of the former HRD Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who brought major changes in school curriculum, cannot be ignored. Those who are now trying to politicise the education system in the name of ?desaffronisation? should learn a lesson from these results and stop issuing misleading statements.
The record-breaking achieve-ments of the KVs shows they have been consistent about improving themselves. Over the past four to five years, they have been improving their score gradually with more emphasis on teaching techniques and teacher orientations. Beginning from 77.80 per cent in 1999-2000, the pass percentage for Class X in KVs improved to 81.8 per cent in 2000-2001, 85.57 per cent in 2001-2002 and 90.6 per cent this year. In Delhi region also, the KVs results for Class X showed about five per cent more (92.64%) than those of the up-market public schools, which are way behind at 87.10 per cent. At all India level too, the pass percentage of public schools for Class X is about six per cent less (84.83%) than those of the KVs, which had 90.06 per cent.
Similarly the results for Class XII also improved from 83.00 per cent in 1999-2000 to 83.90 per cent in 2000-2001, 86.44 per cent in 2001-2002, 88.57 per cent in 2002-2003 and 92.74 per cent this year. The Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas located in rural areas of the country came next to the KVs, securing 91.43 per cent marks, which is also about four per cent more than those of the pubic schools.
What is the secret behind this miracle? Says Sudhir Modawal, ?Our aim is not to make profit, but to prepare a brilliant human resource for the country. For this purpose we have taken up projects to encourage all-round develop-ment of the child'spersonality. This includes academic as well as extra-curricular activities. For academic excellence, we have introduced certain new teaching styles during the last two-three years. Previously we were having two pre-Board examinations between December to January, but now we have started three pre-Board exams, as we feel the child secures marks only when he writes the answer and what he knows becomes immaterial. Secondly, it also helps the student to become acquainted with the examination system. The pre-Board examinations help us to identify the weak areas of the child and we remove them. For that we have developed our own study material with the help of experts in relevant subjects. The study material is developed focusing the weak areas. We also organise study camps in which weak students of five or six schools are brought together at one particular school. We also have introduced an intensive 15-day package under the teacher-exchange programme for the benefit of students. A query-corner has also been developed on our website where an expert panel of teachers provides answers to the queries of students once a week. By and large our strategy includes personalised attention and careful monitoring.?
Extra-curricular activities for personality development include promotion of swimming pools and skating ring in most of the schools, tennis courts of international size, facilities for horse riding, shooting and archery, the adventure sports activities including weightlifting, wrestling, mountaineering, paragliding, parasailing, kayaking, etc.,? Shri Modawal said, pointing out that these facilities have been provided free of cost to all KV students all over the country.
Shri Modawal admitted that the ?headquarter management? of KVS had been instrumental in improving the results. There are a total 945 KVs in different parts of the country with over eight lakh students. For administrative reasons, the whole country has been divided into 18 regions headed by one Assistant Commissioner. At present the CBSE syllabus prepared by the NCERT is followed in all the KVs. With regard to admission the first priority is given to Central government employees and Army Personnel. If certain seats fall vacant, they are filled with the students from the general public. Today there are about 30 per cent students belonging to the general public in KVs. Compared to the up-market public schools where thousands of rupees are charged as tuition fee, only Rs 1,500 per year are charged in KVs. ?We do not market education as is being done by the pubic schools. Producing good results after charging high fees is not great achievement,? says Shri Modawal.