100 new Sainik schools to provide opportunity to girl students to join armed forces: Rajnath

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The government's decision to set up 100 new Sainik schools will provide an opportunity for girl students to join the armed forces and contribute to national security, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday. In an address at an online conference, Singh said the government is for increasing the role of women in the armed forces and a series of steps have been taken in that direction, including clearing the way for their admission in Sainik schools and providing permanent commission to women officers.

The defence minister exuded confidence that the decision to establish new Sainik schools will encourage girls to realise their dreams of serving the country. Singh suggested that the department of defence and Sainik School Society should devise a mechanism for ranking all Sainik schools on the basis of their performance and audit. This, he said, will lead to healthy competition among the schools, besides providing encouragement to introduce innovative steps. He said, along with the curriculum, children should be exposed to patriotism and loyalty towards the nation as it will help in building their character and benefit the country. The defence minister described the announcement of the expansion of Sainik schools as one of the many important decisions taken by the government in the last six-seven years to improve the quality of basic education of children and ensure the holistic development of the country. "The setting up of 100 new Sainik schools will provide an opportunity to girls to join the armed forces and contribute to national security," Singh said. In October, the Union Cabinet approved the affiliation of 100 schools from the academic year 2022-23 in government and private sectors with Sainik School Society under the Ministry of Defence. Singh stated that while 'Sainik' signifies unity, discipline and devotion, 'School' is the centre of education, therefore, Sainik schools are playing a pivotal role in making children capable citizens. Singh said the government is focussing on providing quality education to the youth of the country as it lays a solid foundation for the all-round development of the society. "Quality education is the fourth of the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations. There are several other goals under 'quality education'. It has been our strong political commitment to achieve these goals," Singh said. "Several schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan are being run. Setting up of 100 new Sainik schools is another important step in that direction," he said. Singh mentioned that Sainik schools have contributed to the recruitment of more than 7,000 officers in the armed forces so far and have given the country officers like former Chiefs of the Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor (Retd) and General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Retd). In this context, he also mentioned Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, former RBI Governor D Subbarao and film director Rakesh Roshan. "Today, our country is moving fast in the path of self-reliance in every field. It is touching newer heights in fields like defence, health, communication, industry and transport due to the synergy between public and private sectors," he said.

Singh said there is a need for a revolution in the education sector and the holistic development of children. "This is only possible if there is a strong collaboration of defence, education and private sector," he said.