Educational Institutions set up by the Army are gaining popularity among the people here as nearly 15,000 students are studying in these schools which continue to function smoothly despite uncertain atmosphere in the Valley.
Established in 1983, the most prestigious school is Army Public School (APS), Srinagar. It is a part of a chain of 134 schools across the country that are run by the Army Welfare Education Society. The school has about 1,000 students, mostly locals, on its rolls.
“The APS is primarily meant to provide education to the children of Army men hence 90 per cent seats are reserved for them. Rest of the seats are for children of civilians. However, APS, Srinagar, is the only Army institute in the country where 60 per cent students are locals,” said school principal Sandeep Marattha.
“Earlier, we had the Academic Performance Index (API) of 32 per cent but now ours is the only school which has crossed the 300-mark and hit 322.86 per cent API. I have got the best principal award continuously for two years,” he said.
During the 2016 unrest, when all educational institutions in the Valley remained closed for more than five months, the APS, Srinagar, located in the high-security zone of Army Headquarters in Sonwar, was the only institution which functioned normally.
“Parents want to send their children here but we have our limitations and we accommodate accordingly. We do not compromise on education of the children. Our students have become doctors, engineers and study in IITs. Many of our students from Kashmir have also joined the Army,” said another officer, who looks after the school.
There are 20 Army Goodwill Schools in all districts having on rolls at least 15,000 students. These are run by the Ministry of Defence. The schools have produced talents such as kickboxing champion Tajamul Islam, officials said.
The first Goodwill school was set up by the Army in Uri in 1999 and since then more schools have came up across the Valley. This week, the Army set up another school in volatile Kulgam district which has been named after Lt Ummer Fayaz, the young Army officer who was killed by militants recently.
APS set up in 1983
* Established in 1983, Army Public School (APS), Srinagar, is part of a chain of 134 schools across the country that are run by the Army Welfare Education Society
* The school has about 1,000 students, mostly locals, on its rolls
* There are 20 Army Goodwill Schools in all districts catering to at least 15,000 students