MADURAI: Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday informed the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court that it has adequate number of schools to provide education to downtrodden children and there was no need to open Union government’s Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) schools.
In a Public Interest Litigation ((PIL), Jeyakumar Thomas of Nagercoil said JNV schools, run by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), were fully residential as well as co-education schools. Having facility to teach VI to XII classes, they were specifically tasked with finding talented children in rural areas and providing them with quality education, without regard to their families’ socio-economic conditions.
As many as 75 per cent of the seats were reserved for rural children, apart from reservations for SC and ST. JNV scheme schools would collect a nominal fee of `200, that too only from IX to XII standard students.
The JNV schools follow a three-language-formula – regional language, English and Hindi. Students should study them compulsorily. While 600 such schools have been set up across the country, not even one had been established in Tamil Nadu. Hence, the court should direct the governments to establish JNV schools in each district of Tamil Nadu, he prayed.
When the petition was heard on Wednesday, the government pleader said the JNV model schools would not fit in with the State’s education policy (where two languages – English and Tamil or optional languages are being taught as language subjects). Moreover, the State has adequate schools, including both government and private to provide education to downtrodden children and others. So it does not need JNV schools.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that though the MHRD-run Kendriya Vidyalaya schools were functioning in the State, they have mainly targeted children of central government employees in education. If JNV schools are established, it will benefit many poor children. The State government should provide land and buildings free of cost. The rest will be taken care of by the central government. A division bench of Justices A Selvam and N Authinathan directed the State school education principal secretary to file a counter-affidavit. The court adjourned the petition to June 20.