The Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV), an exclusive system of educational hierarchy under the Human Resource Development Ministry of the Government of India, recently completed its half centenary (1963-2013). The ‘Central Schools’ (incorporated in the CBSE) under this particular educational system, were established in 1963 with the sole purpose of offering quality educational facility to the children of Indian Army Personnel posted in off the beaten path and backwater areas. However, when the Army started establishing Army Public schools, the central schools expanded their realm of education to the wards of all Central Government employees. The names of the schools were changed to Kendriya Vidyalaya. The unique nature of the central schools lies in the fact that they follow a ubiquitous system of education with common syllabus and identical educational infrastructure. This is to ensure that a student experiencing a transference from one Kendriya Vidyalaya to another do not have a problem to attune to the new school atmosphere and curriculum. The regulatory body, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), (Central School Organization), headquartered in Delhi, is vested with all responsibilities for streamlining the education procedure in the Kendriya Vidyalayas.
Currently there are 1093 functioning Kendriya Vidyalayas, (1090 in India and three in Kathmandu, Moscow and Tehran), with total student strength of 11, 21,012 and employing a total of 56, 445 people (as per census taken on October 1st, 2012). For proper administrative goals, these 1090 Kendriya Vidyalayas have been subdivided into 25 sectors, each sector being chaired by a deputy commissioner. The Kendriya Vidyalayas abroad are meant for providing education to the children of the Indian Embassy staffs and other Government of India employees posted abroad.
Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Kendriya Vidyalayas:
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) celebrated the Golden Jubilee with much zeal and enthusiasm. The celebrations started with the inauguration of its fourth (of the 14 planned) touring photo exhibition depicting the long and eventful journey from twenty military discipline schools (under the Ministry of Defense and the Central School Scheme) in 1963 to its current network of 1090 domestic and three Kendriya Vidyalayas abroad not to mention the 25 regional offices and five Zonal Institutes of Educational Training (ZIETS). The Prime Minister unraveled the new logo of the KVS followed by the introduction of the new red, white and blue combination uniform for the students by the KVS.
The exhibition which started in Delhi had plans of covering some of the major cities of India including Bhopal, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bangalore and finally terminating in Hyderabad in December this year. The end of the tour will be celebrated with the publication of a coffee table book which will also trace this fifty years long journey of KVS. The exhibitions in all the cities covered were accompanied by a variety of creative activities and cultural programs from the students of the different Kendriya Vidyalayas. The Executive Director of ONGC, Ahmedabad, J G Chaturvedi, inaugurator of the Ahmedabad Exhibition, openly voiced his appreciation for KVS, “KVS was formed to help the kids of central government employees to get quality education as they get transferred every 3-4 years. Today it has grown into a world class institution”.
Introduction of German as a third language in the upper primary grades of KVs, a truly innovative step:
Basic computer education had become a part of the curriculum of all the major educational boards of India for a long time. However, this has been confined to the urban schools mostly. But since the Kendriya Vidyalaya network is far better monitored by its regulatory body KVS, all the Kendriya Vidyalayas maintain almost the same standard irrespective of their location. Foreign language courses are extremely expensive and there are very few places that offer quality education in foreign languages.
The introduction of German in the upper primary curriculum of the KVs is definitely a pace setting and innovative step. This was possible through a coalition between the Max Mueller Bhavan (MMB) and the KVS. The German Ambassador, Michael Steiner was also proactive in contributing to this partnership. Herr Steiner is also an active propagator of the ‘German in 1000 Schools Program’. Herr Steiner was visibly impressed by the proficiency in German showed by some of the Sadiq Nagar eighth grade KV students. The project though undertaken by the KVS for just over a year has already secured a grant of 1.3 million Euros from the German Government in 2012-2013. The introduction of the foreign language project in the upper primary grade of the KVs has already been implemented in 300 central schools and the general response of the students can be best described as inspiring. The project has been implemented in 45 out of the 69 KVs in Delhi. German Teacher at one of the KVs, Shivali Chaudhry commented, “Almost all those who are studying German in class eight want to take it up as an additional subject next year”. While 790 more KVs eagerly wait to come under the foreign language program, KVS is facing problem with the availability of qualified German teachers especially for the remote KV branches.
MMB has been proactive in this regard offering German language courses to potential faculties in Tier II and Tier III cities like Benares and Lucknow with the intention of providing for the remote KV branches. As per the declaration of Puneet Kaur, Project Head, ‘German in 1000 Schools’, MMB, “We are training about 250 to 300 teachers and will take on another 100 this year.” The contribution of MMB in this project is commendable. Realizing that textbook prices are an issue in Government sponsored schools, MMB had been proactive in buying the rights of the standard German learning textbook in the curriculum of the private schools of the South Asia Region. The book is currently undergoing an editing process to make it reader friendly for the Indian students, so that it can be incorporated in the KV sessions of 2014-2015. A lack of suitable faculties has kept the KVS plans of incorporating French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese in the foreign language courses waiting.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan is a pet project of the Central Government so it is natural that the Kendriya Vidyalayas will rate as excellent educational facilities. But undeniably the innovative measures introduced by the KVs to improve their educational infrastructure like countrywide tours to improve awareness about the KVs’ educational programs and incorporation of foreign language courses in the curriculum definitely gives the KV students an edge over the students emerging from other secondary schools.