Army Goodwill Schools changing narratives in J&K’s remote belts

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 Not only standing tall in guarding the borders and safeguarding lives of people, the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir at par is contributing as well in providing quality education to the students through the Goodwill Schools established in the remote belts of the Union Territory.

The Goodwill Schools—an initiative of India Army under Operation Sadbhavana are undoubtedly changing narratives of people and helping them in reforming their lives.

Jammu based, Public Relation Officer (PRO), Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant Colonel, Suneel Bartwal told UNI that Goodwill Schools are doing wonders in the far flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

These schools, he said, are acting as schools of thought transformation leading to nation building.

Sharing the details, the PRO said, “Army Goodwill Schools (AGSs) and Army Goodwill Public Schools (AGPs) have been running for the past few years as part of Sadbhavana initiatives where a total of 2643 students including 1009 of Below Poverty Line (BPL) are studying.”

He said the expenses of these BPL students are entirely met through Sadbhavana activities for the overall development of students.

“Under Operation Sadbhavana deserving and needy students meeting various parameters based on economic conditions and merit were selected for sponsorship,” he added.

The PRO further shared that the beneficiaries for the Financial Year 2022-23 are: Army Goodwill School, Saujiyan, total students 207 (BPL:142), Baba Garib Dass Academy, Salotri, total: 142 (BPL: 106), Pinewood School, Hajipur: total 433 (BPL: 210), Army Goodwill Public School, Rajouri, total: 719 (BPL: 54), Model Academy, Sagrada, total 303 (BPL: 155), Pinewood School, Sabra, total: 100 (BPL: 80), Tender Feet School, Keri, total 258 (BPL: 154) and Army Goodwill School, Potha, total 471 (BPL: 108).

He said that the Army Goodwill School, Gagriyan in Saujiyan (Poonch) was established in 2010 and is affiliated with the J&K Board (Nursery to Fifth), Baba Garib Dass Academy, Salotri, (2007–J&K Board, LKG to 8th), Pinewood School, Hajipur (1996–J&K Board, Nursery to 12th) and Army Goodwill Public School, Rajouri (2007–CBSE, 6th to 12th).

All these schools fall under Headquarter of 25 Infantry Division.

Model Academy, Sagra (1999–LKG to 8th), Pinewood School, Sabra (1996–KG to 8th), Tender Feet School, Keri (2007–Nursery to 8th) and Army Goodwill School, Potha (2003–Nursery to Tenth).

Defence analyst, Brig (Retd) Anil Gupta, said, “Army during the period of insurgency started teaching students in the remote areas with their own staff to ensure that the education does not suffer.”

To keep the local youth engaged, this initiative was taken and it was converted into the Army Goodwill Schools, which was an excellent idea in reaching to far flung areas with quality education blended with discipline, patriotism and nationalism, he told UNI.

He said, “Army is also taking students on national tours to make them aware about the Indian cultures and traditions.”

Appreciating the Army’s thought of introducing Goodwill Schools, Brig (Retd) Vijay Sagar told UNI, “Goodwill schools being run by the Army in the remote belts is indeed an important and appreciable step and has shown amazing results.”

“The schools are blessings for the children, especially those who belong to BPL families,” he said adding, “education is being taught on the CBSE pattern and above all, the teachings on patriotism, personality development and sports culture are transforming them.”

Brig Sagar, a defence and strategic affairs expert, added, “Countrywide tours are changing the narratives as they are learning about the modernised society and this has prevented them from becoming less prone to the radicalisation.”

“The students are contributing to nation building through their professional return to the civil society in the form of developments,” he added.

Political and defence analyst, Captain (retd), Anil Gaur said, “During militancy, the education sector remained neglected as teachers were not ready to join their duties and the students were being deprived of their studies.”

“It was decided by the Central Government to engage teachers from the Army Education Corps that resulted in the setting up of Army Goodwill Schools,” Capt Gaur said.

“Through Army Goodwill Schools, students got quality education that helped in countering the Pakistan sponsored agenda of radicalisation and ‘jihad’ in the far flung areas,” he stated.

Lauding the people for trusting the Indian Army, Gaur added, ” With upgrading computer and internet facilities introduced later have made students aware of the outside world and exposed them to the day to day happenings taking place globally. “

“People started seeing the Indian Army as a saviour and it remained a successful experiment,” he said adding with latest technology, education was also reformed in these schools that led to the progress of the country through the students passing out from Army’s Goodwill Schools.

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