THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time, the Sainik School, Kazhakoottam, will have female students -- 10 of them -- from this academic year. After the Onam week, seven girls from Kerala, two from Bihar and one from Uttar Pradesh will join the school.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in his 75th Independence Day speech that female students will be admitted to all 33 Sainik Schools from this academic year.
For long, girls across the country had expressed their desire to break the glass ceiling. In 2019, the central government decided that girls too should be provided admission to Sainik Schools, conceived in 1961 by former defence minister VK Krishna Menon.
Students are granted admission in Class VI and IX on the basis of performances in the nationwide entrance exam. The Centre has stated that 67 per cent seats are reserved for students from the respective home state and the rest for students from other states.
Lt Col Shelley K Das, Administrative Officer of Sainik School, Kazhakoottam, (SSK) told The New Indian Express that the school had recently released the final merit list of students who have qualified for admission.
"The 10 girls who have qualified will be taking admission at SSK between August 27 and September 6. Our plan is to increase the girls' strength in the next seven years by taking 10 girls each from Grade VI to Grade XII. Currently, the total strength of the school is 600 students with the upper limit being 605. The girl cadets will be accommodated in a renovated building," said Lt Col Das.
A new building, including a dormitory for girls, is also coming up at SSK. The authorities expect it to be completed in two years, for which an additional fund of Rs 1 crore is required from the state government.