Defence Minister opens admissions for girls in Sainik Schools

In a major initiative to empower girls, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has given the nod for their admission into Sainik schools all over the country. So far, only boys were allowed to study in these schools. There are 31 such schools. The project to have such schools to serve as nursery for grooming future Service personnel was started in 1961.

Giving details of the new endeavor here on Friday, Defence Ministry officials said the Minister approved the admission of girls from academic session 2021-22 in a phased manner. The decision is in line with strengthening the motto of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The decision has been taken following the success of the pilot project started by the Ministry of Defence for admission of girl children in Sainik School Chhingchhip in Mizoram two years ago,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Officials also said Singh has directed authorities to ensure availability of necessary infrastructure and sufficient female staff in Sainik schools for smooth implementation of the directive. Moreover, the decision is in line with the objective of the Government towards greater inclusiveness, gender equality and enabling greater participation of women in armed forces.

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Most of the Sainik schools are residential and run by the Defence Ministry except in Lucknow which is administered and funded by the UP Government.

Incidentally, this school was the first one to induct girls in 2016. The girls were given admission in Class IX. Also, this school is the only one which admits boys from Class VII onwards unlike other schools where the children are admitted from Class VI onwards.

The decision comes after the Government allowed women pilots to fly fighter jets and at least seven pilots are undergoing the grueling training. One pilot Bhawna Kanth is already flying MIG-21s along with her male colleagues. Prior to the induction of women as fighter pilots, they were flying transport planes and helicopters. Same is the case with the Navy where women are flying transport planes and helicopters.

While women officers are serving in various branches of the Army, a decision is yet to be taken for their induction into combat arms like infantry, artillery and armored corps.

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