This August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had declared the government’s decision to grant women officers permanent commission and committed removing of gender disparity from various sectors of government.
In an unprecedented move almost a year before the speech, some Sainik Schools already began to set the roads for girls.
Since their beginning, most of the Sainik schools followed a common objective and prepared “boys” physically, mentally and academically for getting into the prestigious National Defence Academy, which remains a male bastion since the setup in 1955.
But changing course, Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram has given admission to 6 girls in class Vl, last year in the month of June. Sainik School, Lucknow joined the fleet and gave admission to 15 girls in class IX in April this year.
Sainik School in Mizoram received 31 applications for the admissions, within 3 weeks of putting out the advertisement. The girl applicants sat with boys for the entrance exams, out of 31 girls, 21 made it to the interview and 6 girls got finally selected.
This was even before the Defence Ministry’s official announcement.
On Thursday, Defence Ministry officially declared to induct girls in all the Sainik Schools across India. Sainik Schools, considered a bastion of boys, have now been opened for the girls for the first time. The girls can be equally imparted and prepared for armed forces, inducting both boys and girls on regular basis.
In the official statement, Dr Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence confirmed the decision and talked about the ongoing infrastructure development in Sainik Schools to induct and accommodate girls as soon as possible.
“It is a testimony to the fact that the Sainik Schools are meeting their three-pronged agenda of opening access of quality public school education to children; serving as feeder-institutions to the NDA and removing regional imbalance in the officer-cadre ratio of the armed forces,” Said Dr Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence. He also added, “The central government has taken revolutionary decision to induct girls in all the Sainik Schools and open the doors of quality training, a historic step towards empowerment of girls,” while addressing a two-day conference of principals of all the Sainik Schools. The conference was focused on policy matters and functioning of the Sainik Schools.
Since 1992, Indian Armed Forces are recruiting women in their supporting arms of engineering, education and medical corps. Indian Air force had also set precedent when three women pilots were inducted as pilots in 2016.