While the controversy about providing 25 per cent reservation to students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds in private schools under the Right to Education Act continues, Kendriya Vidyalaya schools might well be an example of how inclusive education can indeed be the norm and an ideal. A member of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan told The Hindu that they have been providing 15 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes and 7.5 per cent reservation for the Scheduled Tribes for many years. He said: “We get applications every year and students are chosen by lottery and are exempted from paying fees.”
V.M. Karkal, principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jalahalli, said: “Our schools mainly focus on providing education to children of Central government employees (who have transferable jobs). But we have been advertising and trying to fill vaccines for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.” This is to bring such students into the mainstream, he added.
Another senior Kendriya Vidyalaya principal said: “In each standard we have 160 students, 40 of whom are from the lower socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Shibala Singh, principal of the Kendriya Vidyalaya at DRDO, said that the application process is confidential and details are not revealed to any of the students.
Asked if students are being discriminated against, he said: “We have been following this for years now. We are oriented and trained to see that there is no discrimination.”
Principals from these schools said that filtering the applications and choosing the most eligible student has always been a challenge. A senior principal said that they give preference to those whose parents work for the Central and State governments, and autonomous bodies.
“After these categories are filled, we provide scholarships to students from other backgrounds,” the senior principal added.
However, some students from the low income groups cannot afford to pursue their education in reputed institutions after they finish their school. On this, a senior principal said: “Once students finish their basic education, we believe they are capable of sustaining themselves.”