This Teacher’s Day, the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) had an emotional message from 22-year-old Balram Parmar, one of its humble students now taking the world in their stride. “I dedicate my placement in Oracle Corporation to my Navodaya teachers without whom I could not have achieved anything,” the once shy village boy from Shyampur in Madhya Pradesh wrote from NIT Warangal and got placed for ORACLE Corporation.
Not too long ago, Balram was among the millions of below poverty line children of India whose dreams could barely be realised. But thanks to the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) movement that began in 1985 to find and foster rural talent in academics, Balram went on to live his childhood dream.
This year, he (and others like him) celebrate the 25th year of Navodayas, which have patented the art of eclipsing poverty with education. A befitting match to costly private schools, the Navodayas have shown how gifted children with humble means can rise to be part of Citibank in the US or the IAS, IPS and IITs in India. Like Arjun Singh, a former Navodaya student from Meerut, presently vice-president of GTS Technology, Citibank, New Jersey, says, “The credit for what I am goes to JNV.”
Stories of Arjun, Balram, 29-year-old IRS officer Rajendra Meena and several others will be shared tomorrow when the NVS formally celebrates its 25th birth anniversary in the presence of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, who will inaugurate 31 new buildings of Navodayas hitherto running in rented accommodations. It was natural for NVS to ask Sonia to do the honours — the special schools were conceived by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and set up by PV Narsimha Rao.
Another mighty achievement the NVS will make public tomorrow is the outstanding performance of its students in 2009-2010: 4,221 of them made it to top institutions cracking the toughest entrance exams. The Tribune has data that show out of these 4,221 students, 147 cracked the IIT-JEE with Rajasthan’s Bahadur Meena securing 12th All-India ST rank and Rajiv Omar of the JNV bagging All India general rank 87. Lucknow JNV followed by Jaipur, Patna and Bhopal JNVs had the maximum successful students in the JEE this year — 44, 42, 27 and 16, respectively.
As many as 3,286 JNV students, despite hailing from BPL families, cracked the AIEEE to enter coveted engineering institutions; 345 cracked the medical test while 22 ranked among IAS toppers. Hyderabad JNV sent the highest — 1648 students — to engineering colleges while Chandigarh JNV sent 368.
The best performing JNV students in 2009-2010 have been from Bhopal (16 JEE, 418 engineering, 34 medical college entrants), Chandigarh (five IITians, 368 engineering, 98 medical college and one IAS ranker), Hyderabad (12 IITians, 1648 engineering, 71 medical college entrants and seven IAS rankers), Jaipur (42 IITians, 159 engineering, 25 medical and one IAS ranker), Lucknow (44 IITians, 299 engineering, 79 medical and three IAS rankers), Patna (27 IITians, 111 engineering and 18 medical and 7 IAS rankers), Pune and Shillong. Together, these eight schools share 4221 students who cracked the JEE, AIEEE, PMT and IAS.