On the occasion of India's 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all Sainik Schools in the country will soon start intake of female students as well. At present, 33 Sainik schools, which serve as feeder institutions for preparing cadets for the armed forces, are operating in the country, most of whom are traditionally open only for boy cadets.
During his Independence Day speech Sunday from the ramparts of Red Fort, the prime minister said that two-and-a-half years ago, the maiden experiment of admitting girls in Sainik schools was carried out in Mizoram.
"I used to get messages from lakhs of daughters that they also want to study in Sainik School, the doors of Sainik Schools should be opened for them too. Two-and-a-half years ago, the experiment of admitting daughters was done for the first time in Sainik School in Mizoram. Now the government has decided that all the Sainik Schools in the country will also be opened for the daughters of the country," Modi said in a speech in Hindi.
"Now, the government has decided that all the Sainik schools in the country will also be open for the daughters of the country," he said. Sainik schools are run by the Sainik Schools Society which is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence.
The state governments had already been developing the necessary infrastructure to induct girls and the required medical facilities too. The admission is expected to begin from this year onwards.
The prime minister also spoke about his government's renewed 'National Education Policy' that has introduced several reforms to the educational infrastructure, including the reinstitution of Indian languages as a medium of learning.
The prime minister said that the inclusion of native languages instead of an exclusively English-medium education system will not only democratise the education system but will also help combat poverty.
"Today the country also has a new 'National Education Policy' to meet the needs of the 21st century. When a poor person's daughters and sons also have the opportunity to become professionals after studying in their mother tongue, then justice will be done to their ability," Modi said.
"I consider the new National Education Policy as a means to fight against poverty," he added.
The prime minister also stressed the importance of giving equal importance to sport, physical fitness and co-curricular activities in a holistic education system.
"There is another special feature in the new National Education Policy. In this, sports have been made a part of mainstream education instead of treating as extracurricular activity. Sports are also one of the most effective means of moving forward in life," Modi said.
Using the example of India's winning contingent in Tokyo Olympics 2020, Modi said, "It is a matter of pride for the country whether it is education or sports, board results or Olympic medal, our daughters are performing phenomenally today. Today the daughters of India are eager to take their place."
"Earlier we used to hear that if one doesn't want to study what else they can do in life?; our Olympians proved this theory wrong. Fitness and sports are witnessing unprecedented dedication," Modi said.